Skip to main content

Full text of "A wayside violet"

See other formats


lllJlii''W    '»««!''"*'■ .!t4;M|,l.i,,-i!„ 


Digitized  by  tiie  Internet  Arciiive 

in  2011  witii  funding  from 

Tiie  Institute  of  Museum  and  Library  Services  through  an  Indiana  State  Library  LSTA  Grant 


http://www.archive.org/details/waysidevioletOOIigh 


Cc>tL. 


A 


AYSiDE  Violet 


By  Mrs,  Adna  H.  Lightner 


CINCINNATI,    O. 

WRIGHTSON    &    CO.,    PUBLISHEHS. 

1885 


Ihitrred  according  tu  Act  nf  'Joui^ress  in  tlit'  year  l.S<'>, 

JSv  ADNA  H.  LIGHTNEK, 

In  the  office  of  the  Litirariuii  nf  ('nnLrress  at  Washington,  D.  C. 


A  Wayside  Violet. 


CHAPTER  I.— Wise  or  Otherwise? 
The  village  of  Weston,  a  place  of  no  particular  importance,  was 
located  in  Pennsylvania,  near  the  Schuylkill  river.  To  the  west  of 
the  river,  perhaps  a  mile  and  a  half  from  the  village,  was  a  cottage, 
nestling  down  under  the  shade  of  lofty  forest  trees,  bright  and  beau- 
tiful, with  their  wealth  of  mid-summer  foliage.  A  neat,  white- 
washed fence  surrounded  the  cottage,  and  a  well-worn  path  led 
from  the  gate  to  the  cool,  bubbling  spring  some  distance  from  the 
house,  then  on  through  a  strip  of  woodland  to  the  road  leading  into 
the  village. 

In  the  path  near  the  road  were  two  young  men  standing  convers- 
ing earnestly.  Both  were  handsome  and  prepossessing  in  appear- 
ance, but  very  different  in  manner  and  disposition.  The  taller  of 
the  two  was  dressed  in  black,  and  a  spotless  white  neck  tie — every 
article  of  apparel  proclaiming  the  clergy,  but  his  blonde  face  lacked 
power  of  determination  and  decision,  and  his  blue  eyes  held  in  their 
depths  a  shrinking,  vacillating  expression.  He  had  been  invested 
with  ministerial  dignity  but  a  tew  months,  and  had  just  reached  that 
point  in  his  Christi m  career  where  he  felt  it  a  presumption  to  assert 
his  clergyman-ship,  and  humihating  to  be  classed  wiih  the  worldly 
portion  of  mankind. 

His  companion  was  his  opposite  in  temperament  and  complexion 
His  dark  brown  hair  waved  above  a  noble  brow,  and  his  dark 
expressive  eyes,  and  proud,  sensitive  mouth,  shadowed  by  a  curling 
mustache,  told  of  stability,  strong  determination  and  tenderness. 

"  Stop,  Carl !  You  are  rash  in  your  expressions,"  said  Earnesi 
Treherne,  the  young  minister,  laying  his  hand  reprovingly  on  his 


4  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

companion's  arm.  "  You  certainly  cannot  mean  all  that  your  lan- 
guage signifies  !  " 

"  Rash,  Earnest!  Can  you,  a  man  of  God,  defend  such  conduct 
even  in  the  fairest  of  women  ?  Can  any  expression  I  may  use  in 
reference  to  her  actions  be  called  rash  ?  Must  the  victim  suffering 
under  the  cruel  torture  of  the  lash  kiss  the  hand  that  smites  him  ? 
No,  a  thousand  times,  no !  May  the  bitterest  curse  of  Heaven  rest 
like  a  mantle  of  darkness  upon  the  treacherous  beauty  of  Louise 
Dupont !  "  Carl  Leslie  drew  his  manly  form  erect,  and  threw  back 
his  head  with  a  haughty  gesture,  his  pale  lips  quivering  with  excite- 
ment. 

"  Carl,  do  not  invoke  the  curse  of  Heaven,"  Earnest  said  after 
a  moment's  pause,  "  but  rather  leave  her  punishment  to  Him  who 
hath  said,  '  vengeance  is  mine,  I  will  repay  ; '  I  admit  that  'your 
disappointment  is  bitter  m  the  extreme,  and  hard  to  endure,  but 
remember  that  there  is  a  balm  for  every  wound,  a " 

"  Hush,  Earnest !  You  madden  me  !  "  cried  Carl,  angrily  flinging 
aside  the  hand  of  his  friend.  "  It  is  not  like  you  to  meet  my  dis- 
tress with  words  like  these— so  comfortless,  so  void  of  sympathy  !  " 

The  cool,  conciliatory  manner  and  circumspect  language  of  the 
young  minister  exasperated  impulsive  Carl  Leslie  beyond  endurance. 

"  Ha,  ha  !  You  have  surely  forgotten  that  to-day  I  was  to  have 
been  made  the  happiest  of  men,"  he  continued  bitterly,  "  but 
before  the  auction  was  over — while  the  auctioneer  was  crying 
going,  going,  twenty  thousand  dollars  more  than  I  possessed 
bought  my  bride.  And  you  tell  me  there  is  a  balm  for  such  a 
wound  ?  Begone  with  your  logic  !  There  isn't  a  soul  upon  the 
face  of  the  earth  so  wretched  as  I  am  to-day.  Every  pulse  of 
my  being  discords  with  this  quiet,  peaceful  scene.  I  must  get 
away  from  it  all — there  is  forgetfulness  at  least  in  dissipation  !  " 

"Nay,  Carl.  I  have  not  forgotten;  but  wounded  feelings  will 
heal  just  the  same  as  a  physical  bruise.  In  both  cases  it  requires 
time,  patience  and  common  sense  to  accomplish  a  complete  cure. 
You  have  the  warmest  sympathies  of  my  heart — you  know  that, 
Carl.  Be  brave,  be  a  man  !  I  believ-e  this  to  be  but  a  Divine 
Providence — she  was  not  worthy  so  true  a  man.  Come,  let  us  go 
on.  We  can  reach  the  village  in  good  time  for  a  lunch  before  the 
train  comes  up." 


A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET.  5 

Earnest  linked  his  arm  in  that  of  Carl's,  and  they  were  about 
to  retrace  their  steps  to  the  road,  when  Carl  bent  his  head  suddenly 
to  listen. 

"Ah!  What  was  that?"  Someone  sobbing.  Let  us  wait  a 
minute  and  see,"  he  said. 

Earnest  listened  a  moment,  then  together  they  turned  back  and 
hurried  down  the  path,  the  sobs  falHng  still  plainer  upon  their  ears, 
and  very  soon  they  had  traced  their  origin  to  a  young  girl  lying  prone 
upon  the  ground,  by  the  side  of  a  spring. 

"  My  child,  what  grieves  you  so  ?  Are  you  hurt  ?  "  asked  Ear- 
nest kindly. 

At  the  sound  of  his  voice  the  girl  sprang  to  her  feet  and 
dashed  the  tears  from  her  eyes,  then  turned  as  though  to  flee  up 
the  path. 

"  Wait  a  moment,  child,  you  are  in  sore  distress  it  seems. 
Perhaps  we  can  aid  you." 

Earnest's  sympathies  were  strong,  and  the  flushed  face  and 
streaming  eyes  touched  a  chord  in  his  heart,  and  awakened  a 
desire  to  assist  her. 

The  girl,  half-reluctant,  turned  her  face  toward  the  strangers,  and 
for  the  first  time  since  they  had  reached  the  spring  Carl  seemed  to 
show  some  interest  in  the  case. 

It  was  a  strangely  lovely  face — fair  and  dainty.  Eyes  of  the 
darkest,  deepest  violet,  with  long,  tear-wet  lashes,  beautifully  curved 
lips,  parted  over  white,  even  teeth,  low,  broad  brow,  and  glossy 
braids  of  brown  hair,  escaping  over  the  forehead,  in  rippling 
waves.  No  wonder  Carl  turned  to  look  twice  on  so  much  love- 
liness. 

"Yes,  my  child,  we  may  be  of  help  to  you,"  said  Carl. 

"Oh,  sir,  I  wish  I  was  dead!     Can  you  help  me  to  die?" 

The  low  thrilling  .tones,  so  full  of  pitiful  desolation  and  extreme 
suffering,  aroused  Carl's  impulsive,  generous  nature,  and  uncon- 
sciously he  took  a  step  nearer  the  girl. 

"  Die  !  You  are  but  a  child,''  he  said, — wonder  and  amazement 
finding  expression  in  his  voice.  "  Surely,  no  poisonous  blast  has 
swept  the  chords  of  your  young  life.  Childhood  should  be  exempt 
from  such  cruelty.  Tell  us  what  troubles  you,  and  if  within  the 
power  of  nian  to  relieve,  we  will  assist  you." 


6  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

The  earnest,  sweeping  promise,  given  so  readily  by  Carl,  half 
startled  his  more  prudent  friend,  but  he  gave  no  denial  ;  in  fact, 
it  would  not  have  made  any  difference,  he  would  only  have  wasted 
his  breath  in  useless  words. 

"You  are  very  kind,  but  I  fear  no  one  can  help  me,"  said 
the  young  girl  sadly.  "You  have  both  called  me  a  child,  but 
in  one  week  from  to-day  I  am  to  be  married — forced  to  be  the 
wife  of  one  I  do  not  love." 

"  Married!  "  exclaimed  Earnest.      "  God  forbid  !  " 

"How  old  are  you?"  Carl  asked. 

"  I  am  fifteen,  sir,  but  I  am  not  old  enough  to  marry.  Oh,  I 
would  rather  suffer  a  thousand  deaths  than  to  be  the  wife  ot 
Rufus  Day  !  He  is  cruel,  contemptible  and  wicked !  But  it  is 
no  use  talking.  No  power  on  earth  can  save  me  from  my  fate," 
she  said,  in  a  hopeless,  distressed  voice,  every  tone  quivering  with 
pitiful  submission. 

Only  a  great  wave  of  sympathy  and  a  desire  to  administer  a 
portion  of  his  religious  balm,  filled  Earnest  Treherne's  mind  ;  but 
all  the  noble  tenderness  of  his  soul  leaped  into  the  dark  intense 
eyes  of  Carl  Leslie. 

Here  was  sorrow  deep  and  relentless  as  his  own  ;  but,  oh,  how 
different !  He  had  been  cruelly  defrauded  of  his  bride,  upon  the 
eve  of  his  wedding-day,  while  every  pulsation  of  the  young  girl's 
heart  cried  out  against  the  bonds  of  matrimony.  Only  a  few 
moments  before  he  had  thought  himself  the  most  miserable  crea- 
ture in  existence,  but  now  he  sees  before  him  a  lovely  child  bowed 
under  a  burden  of  despair,  and  in  comparison,  his  own  seems 
but  a  trifling  affair.  A  resolution,  quick  formed,  but  strong  as 
life  itself,  takes  possession  of  his  soul — a  determination  to  help 
the  young  girl  out  of  her  dilemma,  let  the  cost  be  what  it  may. 
And  with  Carl  to  resolve,  was  to  act. 

"Tell  me  just  what  your  trouble  is,  my  poor  girl,  and  I  will 
save  you  from  it.  Carl  Leslie  promises,  and  none  have  ever  suf- 
fered because  of  his  rashness,"  said  Carl,  earnestly.  Then,  to  aid 
the  bewildered  girl,  he  continued  : 

"First,  tell  me  your  name,  and  where  you  live?" 
The  slender,  graceful  figure  of  the  girl  leaned  forward  a  moment 
almost  breathless,  at  the  promise  of  liberty — safety  from  the  persecu- 
tions of  Rufus  Day — and  she  raised  her  eyes  to  Carl's  face  with  a 


A    WAYSI-DE   VIOLET.  7 

doubting  questioning  look  in  their  depths.  Had  the  handsome  young 
stranger  the  power  he  professed  ?  Could  it  be  possible  that  he  could 
lift  her  out  of  her  misery  and  despair  ?  He  looked  brave  and  self- 
reliant  enough  to  accomplish  almost  anything,  and  instinctively  she 
began  to  realize  that  he  was  strong  enough  to  protect  her  in  this  her 
hour  of  need. 

"  My  name  is  Dora  Markley,"  she  said.  And  the  low,  sweet 
voice  trembled  on  the  silence,  like  music  from  some  rich-toned  bird. 
"  I  live  in  the  cottage  that  you  can  see  through  the  trees.  I 
do  not  remember  my  father  or  mother.  I  have  always  lived  with 
my  Aunt.  My  life  has  never  been  a  pleasant  one.  She  does  not 
care  for  anything  but  work;  but  I  did  not  mind  that — it  was  only 
her  way.  I  would  have  been  willing  to  be  her  servant  forever,  if 
that  was  all;  but  for  the  last  three  months,  since  the  day  I  was  fifteen, 
she  has  done  nothing  but  try  and  force  me  to  marry  her  son  Rufus, 
and  to-day  she  told  me  in  words  too  plain  to  be  misunderstood,  that 
I  must  wed  her  son  in  one  week.  Oh,  sir,  you  do  not  know 
Aunt  Jane  or  you  would  not  have  given  your  promise  to  save 
me  !  "  Tears — hot,  passionate  tears — gathered  afresh  in  the  soul- 
ful eyes,  as  the  magnitude  of  her  sorrow  reproduced  itself  to  her 
tortured  mind. 

"  The  young  girl  is  right,  Carl.  It  is  a  delicate  matter  to  inter- 
fere with  such  business  as  this,"  said  Earnest,  fearful  that  his  im- 
pulsive friend  had  ^one  too  far.  "  My  dear  girl,  trust  in  God. 
He  will  right  it  in  time.     We  are  powerless.      He  is  all  powerful." 

"  Earnest,  I  think  I  have  read  some  where,  that  your  God 
makes  use  of  very  weak  instruments  sometimes  to  work  out  His 
mercies,  and  I  am  just  foolish  enough  to  imagine  that  I  have  been 
chosen  for  this  particular  case.  At  any  rate  I  have  given  my 
promise — it  is  too  late  to  retract  even  if  I  desired,"  replied  Carl. 
Then  turning  to  the  flushed,  down-cast  face  of  the  girl,  be  mentally 
renewed  his  vow  to  save  her. 

"  You  do  not  love  this  Rufus  Day,  even  as  a  cousin?"  he  ques- 
tioned. 

"Love  him!  I  hate  his  very  name  more  than  tongue  can 
tell." 

The  violet  eyes  grew  black  with  disdainful  contempt,  the  dainty 
lips  quivered  with  scorn,  and  the  small  brown  hands,  were  clenched 
tightly. 


8  A    WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

Carl  gazed  with  surpise  and  admiration  upon  the  excited  girl  for 
a  moment,  wondering  at  the  display  of  determination  and  vehement 
feeling  in  one  so  young. 

"I  cannot  doubt  your  assertion,  child,"  he  said  emphatically, 
but  with  that  quiet  tone  of  stubborn  decision  his  friend  understood 
so  well,  "  and  you  shall  not  be  sacrificed." 

Earnest  began  to  grow  seriously  anxious,  as  he  listened  to  Carl's 
strong  language,  and  he  touched  him  again  upon  the  arm  and  drew 
him  aside. 

"  Carl,  you  must  listen  to  reason.  You  have  no  right  to  cham- 
pion the  cause  of  this  girl  against  the  command  and  desire  of  her 
relatives,  it  will  only  create  trouble  for  you,  and  make  matters  worse 
for  the  girl.  Besides  in  what  way  can  you  assist  her  ?  I  fear  that 
already  you  have  raised  false  hopes  without  realizing  how  utterly  im- 
possible it  would  be  for  you  to  accomplish  anything.  Have  you 
thought  of  any  project  as  yet,  Carl  ?  " 

"  No,  Earnie.  I  have  left  that  part  for  you,"  replied  Carl,  in  a 
coaxing  tone  he  always  assumed  when  he  desired  a  particular  favor 
from  his  friend.  "You  know  that  it  is  your  chief  aim  in  life  to 
assist  the  oppressed,  and  comfort  the  distressed.  Surely,  you  have 
thought  of  something  in  this  pitiable  case  ?  Your  compassionate 
heart  shall  plan  and  I  will  execute." 

Earnest  shook  his  head  sadly,  in  the  negative,  completely  at  a  loss 
for  words  to  convince  Carl  of  his  rashness.         . 

"Carl,  you  shall  not  inveigle  me  into  this  piece  of  folly.  I  have 
no  plan  to  offer,  but  to  point  her  to  one  who  is  mighty  to  save,  and 
who  has  promised  that  He  will  not  leave  His  children  comfortless. 
This  is  not  a  question  of  feeling,  but  of  your  right  to  inj;erfere  in 
that  -yvhich  does  not  concern  you.  It  is  wrong,  all  wrong  !  Why, 
Carl,  there  is  no  earthly  way  to  save  the  girl,  except  you  marry  her 
yourself — and  that  is  impossible." 

"  The  very  thing  !  I  knew  that  you  would  think  of  something," 
exclaimed  Carl.  ' '  You  have  my  marriage  certificate  in  your  pocket 
and  if  the  girl  is  willing,  you  shall  officiate  at  a  wedding  to-day  in 
spite  of  woman's  fickleness,  and  I  shall  be  the  happy  man." 

"  For  the  sake  of  Heaven,  Carl,  cease  your  levity  !  "  cried  Ear- 
nest, startled  out  of  his  usual  composure  by  the  mistake  he  had 
made.  "  Matrimony  is  too  sacred  a  theme  to  be  so  lightly  discussed. 
We  have  had  enough  of  this.  Let  us  be  off,  or  we  shall  miss  the 
train." 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  « 

"  Not  so  fast,  Earnie.  We  have  plenty  of  time.  We  will  speak 
to  the  girl." 

Carl  turned  toward  the  wondering  girl,  who  had  stood  watching, 
without  hearing  the  discussion  between  the  young  men,  but  realizing 
that  it  in  some  way  concerned  her  future  weal  or  woe. 

"  My  child,  look  into  my  face  closely,  and  tell  me  if  you  can 
trust  me  fully  ?  "  he  said.  "  If  you  see  no  guilt  or  dishonesty,  and 
can  have  faith  in  a  stranger,  I  will  save  you." 

The  girl  lifted  her  lovely  eyes  and  gazed  into  Carl's  flushed  face 
for  a  moment,  with  wildly  beating  heart,  then  with  a  sudden  grace- 
ful motion  she  reached  out  her  hand  and  laid  it  in  Carl's. 

"Yes,  I  can  trust  you,"  she  said  quickly  and  solemnly. 

"Trust  me  enough  to  be  my  wife — now,  at  this  moment? 
Think  well  before  you  speak." 

"Your  wife!     Why!     How  —  " 

Every  pulse  of  the  agitated  girl  was  throbbing  violently  while  she 
stood  there  Hstening,  hardly  comprehending  Carl's  proposal.     The. 
wife  of  this  handsome    young  man  ?     Then    a  rush    of  exquisite 
tenderness  swept  o'er  her  awakened  soul — and  the  child  was  no 
longer  desolate. 

Carl  noticed  her  bewilderment,  and  thought  perhaps  he  had  been 
too  hasty. 

"  There  seems  no  other  way — no  safety  for  you  but  this.  Do  you 
repent  your  trust  ?  Do  not  hesitate  to  say  no,  if  you  think  the 
alternative  is  equal  to  the  present  evil  ?  I  am  going  away  for  years. 
Perhaps  we  shall  never  meet  again,  and  only  in  name  will  you  be  a 
bride.  They  dare  not  force  the  revolting  union  upon  you,  if  you 
are  already  married.     But  decide  as  you  think  best." 

Carl  spoke  without  a  thought  of  self.  His  life  had  been  so  recently 
defrauded  of  all  its  joy,  that  it  seemed  no  sacrifice  to  protect  the  girl 
with  the  shelter  of  his  empty  name. 

"  It  is  not  for  myself  I  hesitate,  but  for  you — you  may  regret  it 
sometime,"  she  said. 

In  that  moment  of  extreme  necessity  she  realized  the  magnitude 
of  his  generosity.  He  had  nothing  to  gain  by  her  acceptance; 
while  to  her,  life  itself  seemed  embodied  in  his  proposal. 

"  No,  I  have  counted  the  cost,"  Carl  said,  as  he  reached  out  his 
hand  and  again  clasped  hers.  "  I  desire  it  above  all  things,  and  if 
you  are  ready  we  will  proceed  with  the  ceremony.      My  friend  is  an 


10  A    WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

ordained  minister,  and  Fate  has  provided  a  special  marriage  certifi- 
cate for  the  occasion.      Come  Earnest,  we  are  waiting." 

Earnest  Treherne  ceased  his  rapid  walk  up  and  down  the  path  and 
halted  before  Carl.  His  face  was  pale  as  death,  even  his  lips,  and 
his  eyes  were  filled  with  a  craving,  beseaching  expression. 

"Desist,  Carl!  Anything  but  this.  I  dare  not  make  a  jest  or 
convenience  of  God's  most  holylaw." 

Every  word  and  jesture  of  the  young  minister  betrayed  his  insta- 
bility and  wavering  will — his  halting  between  that  which  he  knew 
was  virtually  wrong,  and  an  over-powering  desire  to  favor  his  friend. 

Carl  understood  him  thoroughly,  and  acted  accordingly. 

"  Pshaw,  Earnie  !  Don't  be  prudish.  Do  what  I  ask,  and  leave 
the  result  with  God.  You  ought  to  be  thankful  that  you  have  the 
power  to  relieve  this  distressed  young  girl  without  wronging  anyone, 
I  desire  it,  and  she  is  willing.     We  have  no  time  to  waste." 

"  Well,  Carl,  if  you  place  it  in  that  light  I  will  not  refuse  longer, 
although  I  am  fearful  of  the  result,"  Earnest  said.  Then  turning  to 
the  girl,  he  continued  :  "  My  child,  are  you  perfectly  willing  to  be- 
come the  wife  of  my  friend  ?  " 

"  Yes,  sir,  if  he  desires  it,"  she  replied  firmly. 

For  one  moment,  silence  fell  upon  the  strange  trio,  and  sympathetic 
nature  seemed  to  hold  her  breath  in  a  solemn  hush,  as  Carl  Leslie 
and  Dora  Markley  clasped  hands.  And  never  through  all  the  years 
of  his  life,  did  Carl  forget  the  scene,  or  the  sweet  child-form  by  his 
side. 

Then  out  upon  the  air  floated  the  words  of  that  solemn  cere- 
mony, broken  only  by  the  earnest  response  of  Carl,  and  the  low, 
sweet  assent  given  by  Dora,  but  when  the  last  words  were  uttered, 
"What  God  hath  joined  together  let  not  man  put  asunder,"  a  warb- 
ler just  over  their  heads,  broke  out  into  song,  so  rich,  so  exultant, 
that  a  smile  came  to  Carl's  lips,  and  an  unconscious  "  Amen,"  from 
Earnest. 

Carl  produced  pen  and  ink  from  his  pocket,  then  with  firm  hand 
the  new  made  husband  signed  his  name  to  the  marriage  certificate, 
and  tremblingly  Dora  added  her  own. 

As  the  minister  handed  the  certificate  to  the  young  wife  something 
prompted  Carl  to  say  : 

"  Dora,  I  have  given  you  freedom,  won't  you  give  me  one  kiss, 
just  for  luck  ?  " 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  11 

Dora  raised  her  head  quickly,  and  as  Carl's  gaze  held  her  own, 
the  truth  was  revealed  to  her  that  she  loved  this  man  as  a  girl  loves 
but  once  in  her  life — that  never  again  would  she  be  heart-free,  that  all 
the  devotion  of  her  soul  belonged  to  her  husband,  even  though  she 
would  never  see  him  again.  Then  as  she  remembered  all  he  had 
done  for  her,  a  glow  of  exquisite  tenderness  flooded  her  sweet  face, 
and  with  the  simplicity  of  a  child,  and  the  shy  coy  grace  of  a  woman, 
when  she  gives  the  first  caress  to  the  man  she  loves,  she  raised  her 
pure  crimson  lips  to  give  him  the  kiss  he  had  asked  for. 

Carl  bent  his  handsome  head  and  pressed  his  lips  to  the  perfect 
mouth,  solemnly,  sacredly,  and  with  that  caress  he  breathed  a  vow 
that  he  would  keep  unsullied  from  the  vices  of  the  world  the  man 
whom  the  child  wife  had  blessed  with  a  kiss. 

"  Dora  !  "  came  a  voice,  shrill,  discordant  and  unpleasant  from 
the  cottage.  "  You  had  better  make  haste  and  bring  that  water.  I 
don't  propose  to  wait  all  day." 

Dora  started  as  though  some  hand  had  dealt  her  a  rude  blow,  and 
a  hunted,  pitiful  expression  flooded  her  young  face. 

"  Oh,  sir,  are  you  very  sure  that  I  am  safe  ?  She  may  not  believe 
me  when  I  tell  her  I  am — married." 

"  Never  fear,  Dora,  you  have  the  proof.  None  dare  deny  it," 
said  Carl  assuringly. 

"  Dora,  are  you  coming  ?  " 

The  same  rough,  repulsive  voice,  only  a  trifle  louder  and  more 
emphatic,  rang  out  again  on  the  summer  air. 

Dora  reached  out  both  her  hands  instinctively  to  Carl. 

He  grasped  them  in  one  of  his,  and  with  the  other,  he  drew  her 
close  to  his  side,  as  with  prophetic  fear. 

Earnest  knew  not  what  new  freak  of  folly  his  impulsive  friend 
might  be  guilty  of,  and  stepping  to  his  side,  he  laid  a  hand  upon 
the  arm  of  each,  he  said  : 

"  Carl,  you  have  done  all  that  mortal  can  do  for  this  dear  girl. 
God  will  do  the  rest.    Leave  the  case  in  His  merciful  hands." 

"  Yes,  Dora,  God  will  care  for  you,"  Carl  said  slowly,  as  though 
he  questioned  his  own  assertion,  and  was  but  repeating  the  lan- 
guage of  Earnest  to  gain  time.  "  Good-bye,  little  girl- wife,  good- 
bye !  " 

Then  tenderly,  kindly  he  dropped  her  hands,  and  turned  away, 
little  thinking  when  and  where  they  would  meet  again. 


12  A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

Dora  lifted  her  bucket  from  the  ground  and  filled  it  at  the  spring, 
then  with  one  last  loving  look  after  the  handsome  stranger,  who 
had  given  her  freedom  from  a  fate  worse  than  death,  she  turned  and 
walked  slowly  up  the  path,  her  brain  so  bewildered,  that  but  for  the 
folded  paper  nestling  in  the  drapery  of  her  dress,  over  her  throbbing 
heart,  she  would  have  declared  it  all  a  dream.  She  the  wife  of  a 
perfect  stranger  ?  But  a  half-hour  before  a  child,  now  an  awakened 
woman,  and  a  bride. 


CHAPTER  II.— A  Stormy  Interview. 

A  tall,  thin  figure  stood  in  the  open  door  of  the  cottage,  a  frown 
of  displeasure  on  her  repulsive  face,  and  her  steel-gray  eyes  flash- 
ing angrily. 

"  So  you  have  come  at  last,  have  you  ? "  came  from  between 
the  thin  resolute  lips,  as  the  graceful  form  of  the  girl  made  its 
appearance. 

''Yes,  Aunt  Jane,"  replied  the  girl,  and  she  entered  the  tidy 
kitchen  and  lifted  the  bucket  of  water  to  the  table. 

"  What  kept  you  so  long,  you  lazy  piece?  I  have  half  a  notion 
to  shake  the  breath  out  of  your  worthless  body.  Dreaming  as  usual ! 
I  think  before  the  month  is  over  you  will  have  something  else  to  do 
— you  are  no  account  now." 

Dora  understood  the  allusion,  but  she  did  not  fear  her  power  now. 
Yet  there  was  something  indescribably  touching  in  her  low,  musical 
voice,  and  tender  downcast  face. 

"  Oh,  Aunt  Jane,  please  don't  call  me  such  names  !  It  isn't  often 
I  keep  you  waiting,"  she  said  passionately.  Then  a  thought,  that 
had  been  forming  itself  for  several  weeks,  forced  its  way  to  her 
trembling  lips,  and  half-desperate,  half-startled  at  her  own  bravery, 
she  added  : 

"  Are  you  my  Aunt  ?     Something  tells  me  that  you  are  not." 

A  blow,  quick  and  heavy,  was  her  answer,  and  as  she  staggered 
to  her  feet,  she  was  met  with  hot,  stinging  words. 

"  Am  J  your  Aunt  ?  Who  else  do  you  think  I  am  ?  This  is 
gratitude  for  taking  care  of  you  so  many  years.  You  poor,  miser- 
able brat !  It  is  no  credit  to  me  that  I  am  your  Aunt,  but  rather, 
an  honor  to  you,  that  you  have  one  decent  relative.  Who  do  you 
think  you  are  anyhow  ?     Some  Princess  in  disguise  ?  " 


A   WAYSIDE  VIOLET.  13 

'*  I  do  not  know  who  I  am,  Aunt  Jane,  but  I  firmly  believe  that 
you  know  far  more  than  you  have  told  me.  If  I  am  only  Dora 
Markley,  your  despised  niece,  what  object  can  you  possibly  have 
for  desiring  your  only  son  to  marry  me  ?  I  have  no  wealth  to  bring 
him — not  even  love,   for  I  hate  and  detest  him." 

"  You  do,  eh!  Well,  what  does  that  matter  ?  I  shall  marry  you 
all  the  same." 

A  short,  burly  form  darkened  the  door,  and  a  coarse,  insulting 
voice  interrupted  the  low,  thrilling  tones  of  Dora.  In  an  instant 
the  delicate,  shrinking  form  of  the  girl  grew  erect,  the  velvety  eyes 
shone  like  stars,  the  small  hands  clinched  themselves  resolutely,  and 
the  beautiful  head  was  thrown  back  haughtily. 

"  Rufus  Day,  you  shall  never  marry  me!"  she  said,  in  clear, 
ringing  tones,  then  she  added  with  a  thrill  of  tenderness  in  every 
word,  as  she  remembered  from  whom  she  was  quoting,  "  God  will 
take  care  of  me." 

"  I  have  no  objection  to  that  part  of  the  programme,"  Rufus  Day 
replied  sneeringly;  "  but  if  there  isn't  a  remarkable  change  in  you. 
He  will  need  some  assistance,  and  as  your  attentive,  loving  hus- 
band, I  can  aid  Him  very  much.  Dora  you  had  better  submit 
quietly,  for  in  one  week  from  today  you  shall  be  my  wife,  and  all 
the  power  of  Heaven  and  hell  shall  not  take  you  from  me  !  " 

Doit's  lips  curled'in  pardonable  derision,  when  she  thought  of  a 
power  on  earth  potent  enough  to  protect  her  from  this  man — and 
she  possessed  that  power,  a  gift  from  the  king  among  men — and 
there  was  a  shadow  of  triumph  in  her  voice  as  she  said : 

"  Never,  Rufus  Day  !  I  would  die  first !  You  dare  not  do  this 
wicked  act.  I  say  again,  if  I  am  only  a  poor  orphan  girl,  why  do 
you  wish  to  force  this  unpleasant  marriage  upon  me  ?  I  repeat  for 
your  benefit,  Rufus,  that  I  do  not  believe  your  mother  is  my  Aunt, 
or  that  you  are  my  cousin." 

Had  one  of  his  old  work-horses  taken  the  fence  at  a  leap,  Rufus 
could  not  have  been^more  surprised,  but  his  sluggish  brain  was 
slow  to  act,  and  he  could  only  look  from  his  mother  to  the  lovely, 
determined    girl,  with  a  startled,   cringing  glance. 

"Mother,  you  havn't  been  blabbing  have  you  ?  "  he  said  at  last, 
regardless  of  his  mother's  look  of  warning. 

"  What  do  you  mean,  Rufus  ?  There  is  nothing  to  tell,"  replied 
Mrs.  Day,  with  downcast  eyes,  not  daring  to  meet  Dora's  searching 
glance.      ",The  girl  seems  possessed  to-day." 


14  'A    WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

"Yes  there  is  mother,  and  I  don't  care  if  she  knows  it,"  said 
Rufus,  sullenly.  "  She  is  just  as  good  as  my  wife,  and  I  don't  care 
if  I  do  tell  her  that  I  am  not  her  cousin.  Maybe  that  is  one  reason 
why  she  does  not  want  to  marry  me — some  folks  think  it  isn't  the 
proper  thing  for  cousins  to  marry." 

"  Hush,  Rufus!  How  dare  you  tell  such  a  falsehood.  She  is 
your  cousin,"  said  Mrs.  Day,  her  face  scarlet  with  anger. 

Dora's  face  gleamed  with  a  great  joy,  her  eyes  fairly  sparkled 
with  excitement,  and  with  a  sudden  graceful  impulse  she  sprang  to 
the  side  of  Rufus,  and  grasped  his  arm  tightly. 

"Oh,  Rufus!"  she  cried,  "  repeat  those  glorious  words  again. 
Is  it  indeed  true  that  I  am  not  your  cousin?" 

Rufus  entirely  misconstrued  Dora's  actions  and  eager  words.  He 
believed  she  had  been  backward  in  accepting  his  love  simply  because 
he  was  her  cousin,  and  that  his  revelation  had  removed  her  preju- 
dice, and  elated  beyond  the  expression  of  words,  he  attempted  to 
take  her  hand,  while  he  said  : 

' '  Yes,  Dora,  it  is  true.  I  knew  that  was  all  that  was  the  matter  with 
you.  Mother,  don't  you  see.  It  makes  all  the  difference  in  the 
world  ?  " 

"  Aunt  Jane,  who  am  I?     You  must  know." 

Dora's  lips  parted  breathlessly,  and  her  eyes  grew  dark  with  ex- 
pectation. 

Mrs.  Day  shrugged  her  shoulders  suggestively  and  looked  savagely 
at  Rufus  a  moment  before  speaking. 

"  Dora,  I  had  intended  never  to  tell  you  anything  of  yourself, 
but  Rufus  has  said  too  much  for  me  to  still  claim  relationship. 
Talk  about  a  woman  not  being  able  to  keep  a  secret !  Pooh  !  A 
man,  if  he  is  in  love,  has  no  more  sense  than  a  goose.  He  is  ready 
to  tell  all  he  knows  and  a  great  deal  more." 

"  Yes,  but  Aunt  Jane,  whose  child  am  I  ?  "  interrupted  the  eager 
girl. 

''  Well,  that  is  more  than  I  know.  If  you  must  be  told,  to  satisfy 
your  curiosity,  I  might  as  well  do  it,  first  as  last.  Twelve  years  ago 
a  gentleman  and  lady  with  a  little  girl  of' three  years,  came  to  Wes- 
ton to  spend  the  summer.  The  lady  was  sick  all  the  time,  and 
when  the  leaves  began  to  turn  she  died.  I  nursed  her  while  she 
was  at  death's  door,  and  after  she  was  dead,  the  gentleman  wanted 
me  to  take  the  child  and  bring  it  up  as  my  niece.      He  promised 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  15 

that  he  would  never  take  her  from  me,  and  he  has  faithfully  kept 
his  word.  You  are  that  child,  and  I  have  never  seen  or  heard  of 
your  father  from  that  day  to  this,  and  got  precious  little  good  out 
of  you  to  repay  me  for  all  my  trouble." 

''  Was  my  name  Dora  Markley  ?  " 

"  No,  it  was  not.  They  called  you  some  outlandish  name,  but  I 
did  not  like  it,  so  I  changed  it  to  Dora  Markley — the  Markleys  are 
in  our  family,  and  a  proper  set  of  people  they  are." 

"  And  this  is  all  you  know  ?  "  said  Dora,  in  a  disappointed  tone. 
^'  Wasn't  there  any  thing  left  with  me  to  explain  who  I  am  ?  No 
writing,  or  anything?  " 

"No,  Dora,  nothing,"  replied  Mrs.  Day,  without  raising  her  eyes 
to  Dora's  face. 

"  Why,  mother,  there  is  something  in  that  little  red  box." 

*'  Hush,  Rufus,  I  say  there  is  not,"  and  Mrs.  Day's  eyes  began 
to  flash  angrily. 

"Nevermind,  Dora.  After  we  are  married  we  will  see  about 
that,"  said  Rufus,  and  he  made  a  move  as  if  to  grasp  her  hand. 

"  Rufus,  we  can  never  marry,"  Dora  said  in  clear,  ringing  tones. 

"  Why,  Dora.  I  thought  that  was  all  right,  now  that  you  know 
that  you  are  not  my  cousin.  Why  can't  we  marry  ?  What  is  to 
hinder  ?  " 

"  Only  this   Rufus.      lam  already  married." 

"  What!  "  exclaimed  both  mother  and   son,  in  tlie  same  breath. 

"You  married  !  "  continued  Mrs.  Day.  "  You  cannot  play  that 
on  me.      This  is  ill  timed  foolery." 

"  Aunt  Jane,  as  truly  as  you  and  I  live,  I  was  married  to-day, 
down  by  the  spring." 

"Stop,  traitor,  I  will  crush  you  where  you  stand!  It  is  false. 
You  cannot  prove  it." 

"Yes,  I  can  prove  it.  I  have  the  marriage  cei tificate  — can  you 
ask  for  further  proof  ?  "  Dora's  lips  trembled  a  trifle,  but  her  voice 
was  still  thrilling  with  triumph. 

"Show  it  if  you  dare.     Seeing  is  believing,"  retorted  Mrs.  Day. 

"  Stand  back,  Aunt  Jane,  and  you  shall  see,"  replied  Dora,  step- 
ping back  and  unfolding  the  paper  to  their  view,  so  that  they  might 
plainly  read  the  printed  words  from  their  position. 

Mrs.  Day  devoured  the  important  paper  wdth  her  keen  gray  eyes, 
until  satisfied  that  Dora's  words  were  true,  then   with  a  spring  like 


16  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

an  enraged  tigress,  she  reached  the  side  of  the  girl,  but  not  soon 
enough.  Dora  had  anticipated  something  hke  this,  and  was  pre- 
pared, and  had  already  replaced  the  paper  in  the  folds  of  her  dress, 
beyond  the  reach  of  the  destroying  touch  of  Mrs.  Day. 

"  Give  it  to  me,  Dora,  or  I  will  make  you  sorry  for  this  day's 
work  !     You  are  not  of  age.     The  marriage  is  not  legal." 

"  That  is  so,  Dora!  It  is  not  legal  without  mother's  consent," 
interrupted  Rufus.  "  I  don't  care  one  penny  for  that  piece  of  paper 
— I  shall  marry  you  all  the  same.  What  is  the  name  of  your  adora- 
ble bit  of  perfection  ?  " 

"  It  does  not  matter  to  you,  Rufus.  You  dare  not  force  me  to 
marry  you  while  he  lives." 

"  Dora,  give  me  that  paper,  or  go  to  your  room  at  once,"  said 
Mrs.  Day. 

"  I  will  go  to  my  room,"  said  Dora,  firmly,  as  she  turned  to  leave. 

"  That  is  right,  mother.  Lock  her  in  until  she  comes  to  her 
senses,  and  if  she  is  very  long  about  it,  I  will  marry  her,  fool 
that  she  is." 

"  Then  there  will  be  two  of  you,"  said  Mrs.  Day,  sarcastically, 
"  for  I  never  saw  anyone  make  such  a  fool  of  himself  as  you  have 
done." 

"Say,  we,  mother.  I  guess  you  told  by  far  the  most,"  retorted 
Rufus. 

Dora,  disgusted  with  the  scene,  hastened  up  to  her  room,  in  the 
attic,  and  soon  she  heard  the  key  turn  in  the  lock  of  her  door, 
and  she  knew  that  she  was  a  prisoner  until  she  would  consent 
to  give  up  her  marriage  certificate ;  and  that  she  would  never 
do,  let  come  what  would.  She  could  not  be  wholly  cast  down 
after  all  she  had  heard — after  being  assured,  that  she  was  no 
relation  to  the  mother  and  son  whom  she  so  intensely  despised. 
That  was  sunshine  enough  to  dispel  the  darkest  cloud.  On  one 
point  her  mind  was  fully  determined,  and  that  was  that  she  must 
flee,  knowing  how  desperate  they  both  were  when  made  angry,  she 
dared  not  trust  herself  within  their  reach.  Oh,  if  she  only  knew 
the  name  of  her  father,  or  even  her  own  name  !  What  had  Rufus 
said  about  this  little  red  box  ?  Something  within  it  might  explain. 
She  remembered  to  have  seen  it  often  in  Mrs.  Day's  room*  and 
now  believing  it  to  belong  to  her  she  determined  to  possess  it — 
but  how  ?     God  will  direct  me,  she   thought.     Although  she  had 


A    WAYSIDE    VIOLET.  17 

never  been  taught  anything  of  il^eolog) ,  yet,  since  Carl  had  said, 
"God  will  care  for  you,"  her  faith  had  grown  wonderfully  strong 
in  an  unseen  power — an  overruling  Spirit. 

Once  Mrs.  Day  came  to  her  door  and  asked  for  the  certifi- 
cate, and  when  Dora  declined  to  give  it  up  she  re-locked  the  door, 
promising  to  take  it  by  force  in  the  morning. 

This  hastened  the  girl's  decision,  and  she  began  to  arranged  to 
leave  at  once  the  home  of  her  childhood.  She  gave  no  thought  to 
her  escape  from  the  room.  She  knew  full  well  that  it  would  be 
no  trouble  at  all  to  reach  the  roof  from  her  window,  and  from 
thence  to  the  ground  ;  but  where  should  she  go,  and  what  should  she 
do,  were  questions  of  the  greatest  importance. 

The  hours  dragged  wearily  along  until  the  shades  of  night  wrap- 
ped the  cottage  in  its  mantle  of  darkness,  and  then  Dora  began  to 
prepare  in  earnest  for  her  flight.  She  had  not  dared  to  arrange  her 
satchel  before,  for  fear  of  detection,  but  now  she  filled  it  with  some 
necessary  articles,  and  then  sat  down  to  wait  until  mother  and  son 
were  asleep,  before  venturing  from  her  room. 

She  counted  the  strokes  of  the  old-fashioned  time-piece  down 
stairs  as  it  rang  out  eight,  nine,  and  at  last  ten  o'clock,  and  as  the 
last  stroke  thrilled  the  silence,  she  realized  that  the  hour  had  come 
to  act — that  the  next  sixty  minutes  would  lighten  her  heart  with 
its  song  of  freedom,  or  burden  her  soul  with  alarming  defeat. 

She  glanced  around  her  little  room  with  no  feeling  of  regret  that 
she  was  leaving  it — perhaps  forever.  There  was  no  sacred  keep- 
sakes to  lay  aside  with  regretful,  loving  touch,  no  tender  memories 
to  crush  out  from  her  young  heart  as  she  turned  away.  Her  life 
had  been  only  an  existence — not  the  remembrance'of  a  caress,  or  a 
kind  word  to  counsel  her  to  stay;  without  a  shadow  of  wavering 
she  stepped  out  upon  the  roof,  and  in  a  very  few  moments  she  had 
reached  the  ground.  She  halted  a  moment  under  Mrs.  Day's  win 
dow,  and  as  she  did  so,  voices  fell  on  her  ear,  startling  her  with  the 
knowledge  that  her  enemies  were  still  awake,  and  plotting  against 
her  liberty. 

"  Rufus,"  Mrs.  Day  was  saying,  "we  have  made  a  bad  muddle  of 
this  business,  but  if  we  play  our  hand  well  we  shall  yet  come  off  vic- 
torious. I  have  placed  the  box  in  the  bottom  of  the  old  chest  out  in 
the  wood-house  for  a  few  days,  until  she  is  safely  ours.  She  will  never 
think  of  ooking  there,  but  you  may  depend  on  it  she  will   ransack 


18  A    WAYSTDE   VIOLET. 

the  house.  I  will  get  the  marriage  certificate  in  the  morning  and 
destroy  it,  then  we  will  know  who  her  lover  is.  My,  but  she  is  a 
sly  one  !  I  thought  that  I  had  watched  her  too  closely  for  any 
young  man  to  even  look  at  her — much  less,  court  and  marry  her 
right  under  my  nose." 

Dora  could  scarcely  repress  a  smile  while  she  listened  and  thought 
how  meager  her  courtship  had  been,  and  how  little  Carl  Leslie  had 
filled  the  role  of  lover.  Then  a  great  seriousness  flooded  her  soul, 
and  she  wondered  what  irresistible  power  had  caused  her  to  love 
him  with  all  her  might,  mind  and  strength,  in  defiance  of  the  fact 
that  he  did  not  love  her. 

Fate,  after  frowning  upon  her  all  her  young  life,  seemed  at  last 
to  pity  her  defrauded  childhood,  and  shower  into  her  heart  one 
favor  at  least — even  the  knowledge  of  the  whereabouts  of  the  cov- 
eted box.  Without  waiting  to  hear  more.  Dora  stole  into  the 
wood-house  and  lifting  the  heavy  lid  of  the  chest,  she  plunged  her 
hand  to  the  bottom,  and  a  wild  thrill  of  joy  quivered  through  and 
through  her  being,  as  her  fingers  came  in  contact  with  the  box. 
She  lifted  it  out  and  clasping  it  close  to  her  heart,  she  passed  swiftly 
out  and  down  the  path,  never  halting  until  she  reached  the  spring. 
Then  for  a  moment  she  stood  recalling  the  one  eventful  hour  of  her 
life,  asking  herself  why  Carl  Leslie  had  done  so  much  for  her,  and 
why  he  looked  so  unhappy,  not  seeming  to  care  what  the  future 
might  present,  either  for  good  or  evil.  Then  a  thrill  of  exquisite 
joy  mastered  her  curiosity  as  she  reveled  in  the  thought  that  she 
was  his  bride — that  with  the  trembling,  half-whispered  assent  she 
had  given,  without  reserve,  all  the  wealth  of  her  girl-heart,  and  in 
all  the  future  to  come  she  should  only  love  him  more  and  more. 

She  continued  on  down  the  path  until  it  joined  the  road  to  the 
village,  then,  for  the  first  time  she  paused,  undecided  where  to 
go,  but  as  is  always  the  case  with  the  young,  she  resolved  to  go 
on  to  the  city,  believing  that  something  would  present  itself  in 
which  she  might  make  enough  to  keep  her  from  want.  She  re- 
membered that  a  train  to  the  city  was  nearly  due,  and  quickening 
her  steps  the  depot  was  soon  reached.  She  possessed  very  lit'tle 
money — only  a  few  dollars,  saved  from_  the  sale  of  berries — but  it 
was  enough  to  defray  expenses  to  her  destination  ;  beyond  that 
she  did  not  plan. 

Havmg  a  little  time  at  the  depot  she  opened  the  precious  box 
with  trenibling  touch,  anxiously  hoping,  yet  fearing  everything.    She 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  19 

found  two  packages  of  letters— one  from  her  father,  the  other  from 
her  mother,  but  proving  nothing  beyond  what  Mrs.  Day  had  told 
her.  Her  mother's  letters  were  all  post-marked  "  Rose  Cottage, 
New  York,"  and  signed,  "Violet;"  while  her  father's  bore  the 
foreign  stamp  of  "Oxford,  England,"  and  only  the  name  of 
"  Raymond."  Then  she  noticed  another  folded  paper,  of  more 
recent  date,  requesting  Mrs.  Day  to  call  their  child  Violet,  and 
to  give  her  the  letters  when  she  was  old  enough  to  understand,  but 
nothing  to  tell  the  eager,  disappointed  girl  who  or  what  she  was. 

Nothing  transpired  to  interfere  with  her  taking  the  train  and  it 
Avas  with  a  sigh  of  relief  that  she  sank  down  into  a  comfortable 
seat  in  the  crowded  car  and  began  to  look  around  her. 

A  stately,  handsome  lady  of  perhaps  forty  years,  sat  directly  in 
front  of  her,  and  because  of  her  nearness  attracted  her  attention 
most  of  all.  She  had  a  dainty,  winsome  child  of  four  or  five  years 
with  her,  whose  childish  prattle  seemed  to  annoy  her  to  a  consider- 
able degree.     At  last,  with  a  gesture  of  dismay,  she  said  : 

"  Oh,  Edith,  do  be  quiet !     My  head  will  burst." 

The  little  creature  drew  down  the  corners  of  her  rose-bud  mouth 
and  looked  very  serious. 

"  Why,  grandma,  I  can't  keep  quiet!  "  she  said  earnestly.  "  I 
just  try  and  try,  but  the  more  I  try  the  more  I  want  to  talk.  Let 
Edith  kiss  your  head.  Mamma  used  to  say  that  one  of  my  kisses 
always  made  her  well.  Oh,  grandma,  I  want  mamma  !  My  own, 
own  mamma  !  " 

"  Don't  Edith !  "  the  lady  replied,  tears  welling  up  in  her  dark 
eyes.      "  Mamma  has  gone,  but  grandma  will  love  her  darling." 

Dora  dearly  loved  children,  and  was  deeply  interested  in  the 
sweet  child.  Soon  the  thought  suggested  itself  that  she  might  relieve 
the  lady,  and  at  the  same  time  entertain  herself,  and  leaning  for- 
ward she  said  pleasantly,  "  Edith,  won't  you  come  and  sit  with  me? 
I  will  gladly  talk  to  you  until  grandma's  head  is  better." 

At  the  sound  of  the  low,  musical  voice,  both  lady  and  child  turn- 
ed around  and  gazed  into  Dora's  flushed  face.  •< 

The  eager,  child-voice  was  first  to  break  the  silence. 

"  Grandma,  do  let  me  go  !  I  almost  know  that  I  cannot  be  quiet, 
and  your  head  will  never  get  well.  Besides,  this  poor  girl  is  so 
lonesome,  and  wants  me  to  cheer  her  up." 

"Indeed,  I  am,"  replied  Dora.  "I  would  like  very  much  to 
have  you  come." 


20  A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

"  If  the  young  girl  wishes  it,  you  may  sit  with  her,"  said  the  lady 
wearily.      "  Only  do  not  be  troublesome." 

Quick  to  avail  herself  of  the  desired  consent,  the  child  sprang 
down  from  the  seat,  and  out  into  the  isle  to  the  one  Dora  occupied, 
while  the  lady,  much  relieved,  arranged  her  shawls,  and  sought  to 
take  a  few  moments  needed  rest. 

The  child  nestled  down  by  Dora's  side  and  looked  eagerly  up  into 
her  face. 

"  What  is  your  name,  Miss?"  she  asked. 

A  half-startled  gleam  leaped  into  Dora's  eyes,  and  her  fingers 
fluttered  nervously  with  the  ribbon  at  her  throat.  How  should  she 
answer  the  child  ?  Was  her  name  Dora  Markley,  Violet  Markley, 
or  Mrs.  Carl  Leslie  ?  The  crimson  glow  deepened  her  dimpled 
cheeks,  a  tender,  love-light  changed  the  expression  in  her  eyes  and 
her  lips  parted  in  a  smile  of  delight.  No,  she  would  not  claim 
the  name  Carl  had  bestowed  upon  her,  until,  of  his  own  free  will — 
because  he  loved  her  even  as  she  loved  him — he  would  call  her 
his  wife.  Her  father  had  given  her  the  name  of  Violet,"  and 
the  same  had  been  her  mother's,  surely  she  had  a  right  to  assume 
it  now. 

"  Say,  Miss,  what  is  your  name  ?  "  repeated  the  impatient  child. 

"  Vic'.et  Markley,"  she  said.  "Now,  what  is  all  of  Edith's 
name  ?  " 

"  Oh,  yes.  You  don't  know,  do  you?  It  is  Edith  Lynne  Van- 
couver. Now,  isn't  that  the  grandest  name  you  ever  heard  ? 
Grandma  lives  across  the  ocean,  and  we  are  going  there.  Mamma 
is  gone,  they  laid  her  in  a  box  all  covered  with  flowers,  and  took 
her  away  until  she  gets  well.  Papa  he  is  somewhere,  but  grandma 
says,  'goodness  knows  where.'  Nurse  Mary  always  took  care  of 
me,  but  when  grandma  wanted  her  to  go  with  us,  she  said  no,  that 
it  made  her  sick  to  ride  on  the  water.  I  wonder  why  ?  Wouldn't 
you  like  to  go  over  to  England  ?  " 

"Indeed,  I  should,  Edith,"  replied  Violet,  and  she  recalled  the 
post  mark  of  her  father's  letters,  and  because  of  that  England 
would  always  be  dear  to  her  heart.  "  But  to  cross  the  ocean  is 
beyond  my  wildest  fancy — I  never  eveh  dreamed  of  such  a  thing." 

Edith  drew  her  child-form  erect,  with  all  the  pride  and  grace  of  a 
duchess,  bestowing  a  trifling  favor,  and  said,  emphatically  : 

"  Of  course  not.  You  did  not  know  Edith  Lynne  Vancouver, 
was  the  reason.     Now,  I  am  going  to  take  you  with  me,  just  to  let 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  21 

you  see  the  country.  My,  but  it  is  a  large  place  !  Lots  larger 
than  New  York  City.  But  you  have  not  asked  your  mamma. 
Where  is  she,  Violet  ?  " 

"  Mamma  is  dead !  I  have  no  one  to  ask — no  one  to  care 
whether  I  go  or  stay,"  said  Violet,  bitterly. 

Edith  caressed  Violet's  hand  tenderly,  and  tears  of  sympathy 
moistened  her  long,  silky  lashes. 

"  Well,  never  mind.  I  am  dreadful  sorry.  But  it  makes  it  all 
the  easier  to  go  if  you  have  not  got  any  one  to  ask  permission 
of.     Where  was  you  going,  Violet  ?  " 

"I  am  going  to  the  city,  Edith." 

"  What  for  ?  "  still  questioned  the  eager,   inquisitive  child. 

"I  am  going  to  find  something  to  do.  I  have  no  one  to  take 
care  of  me,  and  I  must  work." 

Violet's  voice  was  low  and  sweet,  but  every  tone,  hopeless  and 
dejected. 

Edith's  grandma  had  caught  several  words  of  Violet  and  Edith's 
conversation,  and  now  she  raised  her  head,  and  turned  to  Violet, 
with  an  eager  expression  on  her  face. 

"  Child, -did  you  say  that  you  was  on  your  way  to  the  city  to 
seek  employment  ?  "  she  questioned. 

"  Yes,  madam." 

"  You  have  no  father  or  mother — none  to  care  for  you  ?" 

"  No  one  in  the  wide  world  to  care  for  me.      I  am  all  alone." 

The  lady  gazed  into  Violet's  pure,  delicate  face  a  moment,  then 
said  : 

"  Would  you  like  to  cross  the  ocean  ?  Would  you  object  to 
accompanying  me,  as  Edith's  companion  ?  " 

"Oh,  yes,  madam  I  If  I  could  be  of  use  to  you,"  quickly 
replied  Violet,  her  eyes  glowing  and  sparkling  like  stars. 

"There,  Violet,  didn't  I  tell  you  that  you  should  go,"  inter- 
rupted Edith. 

"How  old  are  you,   child?"  the  lady  continued. 

"  Fifteen,  madam,"  Violet  replied,  smiles  dimpling  her  face, 
at  the  lady's  mistake  in  calling  her  a  child. 

Edith  noticed  the  smile,  and  said  : 

' '  Grandma,  do  not  say  child,  her  name  is  Violet  Markley ;  and 
Violet,  grandma's  is  Mrs.  Lynne." 


22  A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

"Very  well,  Edith.  Violet,  you  may  consider  yourself  en- 
gaged to  watch  over  the  little  mischief,  and  can  take  charge  of  her 
at  once.     We  will  arrange  other  matters  in  the  future." 

Mrs.  Lynne  turned  away  with  the  air  of  one  who  had  gotten  rid 
of  a  disagreeable  subject;  while  Violet  could  hardly  believe  it 
possible  that  such  good  fortune  had  befallen  her.  Of  all  things 
in  the  world  a  trip  across  the  ocean  was  her  greatest  desire,  and 
then  it  promised  safety  from  Mrs.    Day  and  Rufus. 

After  awhile,  when  Edith's  prattling  tongue  was  still,  and  her 
dainty  head  had  nestled  down  in  Violet's  arms  for  a  nap,  the  tired, 
bewildered  girl  gave  herself  up  to  the  torrents  of  thought  that 
swept  the  chords  of  her  girl-heart.  Would  she  ever  see  Carl 
Leslie  again  ?  He  had  said  that  he  was  going  far  away,  and 
that  only  in  name  would  she  ever  be  his  wife.  Where  was  he 
going  ?  Why  would  he  never  return  ?  Then  another  thought 
brought  a  low,  sweet  laugh  from  her  lips.  What  a  commotion 
there  would  be  in  the  little  cottage  in  the  morning.  How  Rufus 
would  storm,  and  Aunt  Jane  scold.  Her  revery  continued  until 
the  blue-veined  lids  closed  over  the  dusk  eyes,  the  long,  silken 
lashes  rested  on  the  pink-tinted  cheeks,  the  scarlet  lips  parted  in 
a  dream-smile,  and  Violet  kept  Edith  company  in  her  innocent 
slumber. 


CHAPTER   III.— Out  on  the  Ocean. 

Violet,  with  her  new  friends,  remained  a  few  days  in  New  York, 
and  during  their  stay  in  the  city  Mrs.  Lynne  provided  a  suitable 
outfit  for  her,  becoming  the  position  of  companion  to  her  grand- 
child, after  which  they  took  passage  on  board  the  Lady  Gay  for 
England,  as  Mrs.  Lynne,  Miss  Edith  Lynne  Vancouver,  and  Com- 
panion. 

To  Violet,  whose  life  had  been  passed  in  the  little  village  of  Wes- 
ton, the  change  was  a  heaven  of  delight,  and  when  the  steamer 
began  to  move  out  her  heart  bounded  like  that  of  a  bird  set  free — 
she  was  safe. 

Mrs.  Lynne  had  grown  very  fond  of  the  fair  young  girl,  and  little 
Edith  already  idolized  her.  There  was  'a  certain  air  of  refinement 
and  delicacy  about  her,  which  despite  her  training  and  associations, 
clung  to  her  like  a  garment  of  purity.  Every  motion  and  gesture 
was  graceful  and  easy,  and  her  speech  pure  and  proper,  as  though 
she  had  been  "to  the  manor  born." 


A   WAYSIDE  VIOLET.  23 

Mrs.  Lynne  had  questioned  her  concerning  her  young  life,  and 
Violet  had  told  her  all  of  her  history,  but  that  she  was  a  bride — that 
was  a  secret  too  sacred  to  reveal  to  any  one — it  even  flooded  her 
face  with  crimson  to  whisper  it  to  herself. 

They  had  been  out  almost  a  week,  and  while  Mrs.  Lynne  and 
Edith  had  been  prostrated  with  sea-sickness,  Violet  had  declared 
war  against  its  tyranny,  and  was  victorious.  Every  moment  she 
had  spent  attending  to  the  many  wants  of  her  companions,  endear- 
ing herself  more  and  more  to  their  hearts,  and  now  both  were  able 
to  come  on  deck,  and  with  their  convalescence  her  attentions  ceased 
to  some  extent,  enabling  her  to  take  some  note  of  her  fellow-passen-- 
gars.  One  old  gentleman  in  particular,  seemed  to  meet  her  every 
time  she  left  her  stateroom,  and  his  pleasant  greeting  always  caused 
her  heart  to  quicken  its  pulsation,  and  her  smile  and  blush  had 
become  very  dear  to  him,  although  he  could  not  have  defined  his 
feelings  beyond  an  interest  every  voyager  teels  toward  his  compa- 
nions while  they  were  so  closely  associated  together.  He  began  his 
acquaintance  with  her  by  asking  after  her  charge,  and  now  that  her 
time  was  not  so  fully  occupied  be  would  often  engage  her  in  conver- 
sation ;  and  soon  Edith  claimed  him  as  her  special  friend,  thus 
throwing  them  still  more  in  each  other's  company. 

Mrs.  Lynne  did  not  trouble  herself  about  Edith  and  Violet  so 
long  as  they  were  seemingly  in  such  good  sociej;y;  for  the  gentleman 
from  appearances  must  have  reached  his  three-score  years.  His 
hair  and  beard  were  gray,  and  his  step  feeble,  but  his  smile  was 
rougish  and  his  eyes  held  a  merry  sparkle,  while  his  mind  was  stor- 
ed with  a  whole  battery  of  pleasant  stories,  which  Edith  had  full 
benefit  of.  Once,  after  the  child  had  dropped  asleep  in  his  arms, 
he  had  asked  Violet  of  her  father  and  mother,  and  she  had  an- 
swered : 

"  Mother  is  dead.      I  do  not  know  whether  father  lives  or  not." 

And  then,  as  a  wave  of  sadness  softened  every  line  and  curve  of 
her  lovely,  delicate  face,  he  did  not  question  her  further,  beyond 
asking  what  he  should  call  her.  He  had  spoken  to  her  as  "  child  " 
and  to  Edith  as   "  darling"  always  before. 

"  My  name  is  Violet,"  she  said. 

And  he  had  repeated  it  over  with  a  strange  thrill  of  tenderness 
in  his  voice,  and  then  had  been  silent  a  long  time  afterwards. 


24      '  .A    WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

One  morning,  when  Violet  had  gone  to  the  Captain  on  some 
errand  for  Mrs.  Lynne,  he  detained  her  a  moment,  and  said 
pleasantly  : 

"  Miss  Violet,  we  are  a  good  deal  nearer  England  than  Ame- 
rica this  morning.      How  does  that  suit  you  ?  " 

Violet  did  not  lift  her  eyes  in  glad  surprise,  as  he  had  expected. 
He  did  not  know  that  it  mattered  little  to  the  friendless  girl  where 
her  lot  was  cast. 

"I  don't  know,  sir,"  she  replied  thoughtfully.  "I  love  the 
ocean,  and  I  do  not  know  ^vhat  England  will  be  like.  I  would 
be  very  well  pleased  to  stay  forever  on  board  the  Lady  Gay — the 
trip  so  far  has  been   very  pleasant." 

"Thank  you,  child.  The  Lady  Gay  should  consider  herself 
complimented.  I  believe  .you  would  make  good'a  sailor.  Old  Nep 
did  not  get  the  better  of  you  at  least,  but  if  I  mistake  not  he  will 
have  a  chance  at  you  yet,  in  the  shape  of  a  storm,  before  night. 
How  would  you  relish  that  ?  " 

"  A  storm  at  sea  !  Oh,  that  would  be  grand!  "  then  a  look  of 
terror  darkened  her  expressive  eyes,  as  she  added  with  a  percepti- 
ble shudder,  "  but  what  if  the  Lady  Gay  should  go  down  with  all 
on  board  ?  " 

"  Miss  Violet,  did  you  not  know  that  there  is  no  'if  in  the  make- 
up of  the  Lady  Gay  ?  "  the  Captain  replied,  with  a  glance  of  pride 
over  his  beautiful  steamer.  "  You  are  as  safe  on  her  deck  as  though 
your  feet  were  already  pressing  English  soil." 

Only  partially  re  assured  Violet  turned  away,  and  all  the  morning 
her  thoughts  continued  to  dwell  on  the  probability  of  a  storm,  and 
the  possibility  of  their  destruction,  until  it  grew  to  be  a  certainty 
with  her.  And  once,  as  she  halted  by  the  side  of  her  gray-haired 
friend,  she  said  abruptly : 

"  Did  you  know  that  we  were  going  to  have  a  storm,  and  maybe 
all  be  lost  ?  " 

"  No,  Violet,"  he  replied.      "  Do  you  know  so  ?  " 

"  Yes,  sir,  the  Captain  told  me  this  morning;  and,  somehow  I  feel 
like  something  dreadful  was  going  to  happen." 

The  old  gentleman  laid  his  hand  on  Violet's  bowed  head,  in  a  ten- 
der caress,  and  his  eyes  shone  with  ready  sympathy  for  her  evident 
distress. 

"Never  fear,  child.  God  will  take  care  of  you,"  he  said 
cheerfully. 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  25 

Violet  lifted  her  head  quickly.  What  power  of  consolation 
those  words  possessed  for  her.  Carl  had  said  the  same.  Yes, 
conrje  what  might,  God  would  watch  over  her,  because  solemnly, 
tenderly  she  had  been  given  into  His  keeping,  and  He  had  pro- 
mised to  be  a  strong  wall  of  protection  to  the  least  of  His  little 
ones. 

"  Thank  you,  sir,"  she  said  naively,  and  he  knew  that  in  some 
way  he  had  cheered  her,  but  he  did  not  guess  at  the  truth  of  it. 

As  the  afternoon  wore  on,  she  noticed  a  look  of  anxiety  on  the 
faces  of  captain  and  sailors,  which  she  perhaps  would  have  passed 
by  without  a  thought,  but  for  her  conversation  with  the  Captain  in 
the  morning.  Now  they  were  forbodings  most  appalling  to  her. 
The  impression  of  calamity  so  fastened  itself  upon  her  mind  that 
she  began  to  make  preparation  for  it.  She  took  the  precious  letters 
of  her  father  and  mother,  and  her  marriage  certificate  and  \vrapped 
them  carefully  in  oil  silk,  then  secured  them  in  the  pocket  of  her 
dress. 

At  last,  just  as  the  sun  was  dipping  itself  into  the  dancing 
waves,  the  Captain's  voice  was  heard  on  deck,  saying  : 

"  Make  ready  for  a  rough  night,  boys — it  is  coming,  sure." 

Violet,  like  one  in  a  dream,  made  Mrs.  Lynne  comfortable  for 
the  evening,  then  taking  little  Edith  in  her  arms,  she  sat  down  m 
the  cabin  to  wait  for  a  something  that  she  was  powerless  to  define. 
Never  had  the  winsome  fairy  seemed  so  dear  to  her  as  now,  or  her 
quaint,  sweet  expressions  so  bright  and  witty,  but  after  a  while 
the  dainty,  curly  head  drooped  over  on  her  shoulder,  the  eyes 
closed  wearily,  and  Edith  was  in  the  land  of  child-dreams  ;  but 
Violet  did  not  lay  her  down,  she  still  clasped  her  close  to  her  heart. 

Once  the  Captain  passed  her  on  his  way  through  the  cabin,  and 
stopped  a  moment  to  look  into  the  face  of  the  slumbering  child, 
and  Violet  ventured  to  question  in  her  low,  intense  voice  : 

"Sir,  do  you  think  the  storm  will  be  heavy?  I  did  not  see 
even  one  little  cloud." 

"  True,  child,  but  it  is  in  the  air.  There  will  be  clouds  enough 
before  morning.  Yes,  we  shall  have  a  heavy  wind-storm,  without 
a  doubt.  Do  not  undress,  Violet,  and  if  you  are  brave  enough, 
you  shall  see  what  it  is  like." 

"  You  are  very  kind,  sir.  I  shall  not  undress  to-night,  and  if — 
but  you  said  there  is  no   'if  in  connection  with  the  Lady  Gay. " 


26  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

The  Captain  did  not  reply,  the  young  girl's  earnest  persistency 
in  a  presentiment  of  coming  evil,  had  its  effect  on  him,  and  he 
shook  his  head  and  passed  on. 

After  some  time  she  began  to  feel  the  vessel  roll  gently  too  and 
fro,  then  lunge  forward  on  a  heavy  wave,  only  to  sink  back  into 
the  cradle  of  the  sea,  and  what  she  had  been  waiting  for  so  long 
had  come — the  storm  had  struck  the  Lady  Gay.  She  sat  and 
listened  eagerly  to  the  hoarse  commands  of  the  Captain,  and  the 
hearty  "aye,  aye,"  of  the  sailors,  but  realizing  all  the  time  that 
each  wave  was  lifting  them  higher  than  the  preceding  one,  and  like 
a  thing  of  life  the  staunch  vessel  was  batding  with  the  elements  as 
though,  with  a  knowledge  of  her  precious  freight,  and  how  much 
depended  on  her  strength.  The  commands  grew  more  hurried 
as  the  storm  reached  the  height  of  its  fury,  and  the  responses 
less  hearty,   then  the  order  rang  out : 

"  All  .hands,  on  deck  !  " 

All  the  terror  of  a  life-time  seemed  condensed  into  that  one  awful 
moment  to  the  trembling  girl,  and  the  accumulation  of  despair 
was  reached,  when  the  maddening  cry  of  "fire,  fire!"  thrilled 
through  and  through  the  doomed  vessel. 

Doors  were  flung  open,  and  half-dressed  men  and  women  ap- 
peared on  every  side,  and  all  was  the  most  pitiful  confusion,  fear 
paralizing  the  very  souls  of  the  awakened  ones.  Dense  volumes  of 
smoke  issued  from  the  hold  of  the  vessel,  and  with  one  accord  every 
one  rushed  for  the  deck,  eager  to  get  as  far  as  possible  from  the 
fire. 

Violet  made  no  effort  to  move.  She  seemed  completely  bewil- 
dered, until  the  cries  of  Edith  aroused  her,  and  she  staggered  to  her 
feet  and  looked  around  her,  only  to  find  that  she  was  alone  with 
the  child  in  the  cabin,,  and  more  for  the  sake  of  her  charge  than 
for  self  she  pressed  the  child  closer  to  her  breast,  and  sought 
the  deck. 

The  life-boats  had  been  lowered  and  were  rapidly  filling — some 
reaching  them  in  safety,  others  missing  their  footing,  in  their  haste 
were  caught  up  on  the  foam-crested  waves  and  lost. 

As  Violet  reached  the  deck  the  Captain  espied  her  and  grasp- 
ing her  arm  sought  to  lift  her  over  the  vessel's  side,  but  Mrs.  Lynne 
was  still  on  board,  and  she  drew  back,  begging  her  to  go  first. 
Then,  as  she  realized  that  there  was  only  room  for  one   more,  she 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  27 

kissed  the  sweet  face  of  Edith  and  gave  her  into  the  hands  of  those 
waiting  to  receive  her,  and  saw  her  placed  in  the  arms  of  Mrs. 
Lynne,  believing  that  she  must  stay  and  go  down  with  the  burning 
vessel,  but  even  while  she  resigned  herself  to  fate  she  saw  that 
another  boat  was  being  lowered,  and  in  a  moment  she  had  been 
handed  down  to  ready  hands,  followed  by  her  old  friend.  Then 
the  sailors,  and  last  the  noble  Captain  left  the  deserted  deck,  and 
sadly  and  mournfully  the  order  was  given  to   "  pull  away." 

They  hasten  to  obey  the  command,  for  the  Lady  Gay  was  already 
wrapped  in  flames,  and  in  less  than  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  the  black- 
ened hull  of  the  once  beautiful  vessel,  went  down  into  the  grave  of 
old  ocean,  and  was  no  more. 

Violet  found  herself  seated  near  the  old  gentleman  who  had 
interested  her  so  deeply,  and  a  thrill  of  joy  came  to  her  heart  at  the 
thought  that  she  was  not  altogether  friendless,  not  alone,  and  with 
a  feeling  of  security  she  moved  closer  to  him.  He  reached  out 
his  hand  and  drevv^  her  head  to  his  knee  and  soon  the  weary  girl  was 
sleeping  the  sleep  of  exhaustion. 

The  night  of  terror  spent  itself,  and  a  dull  gray  morning  heralded 
the  approach  of  another  day.  Violet  awoke  startled  and  bewildered, 
then  her  situation  dawned  upon  her,  and  with  a  shudder  she  buried 
her  face  in  her  hands. 

"  Don't  worry,  Violet,"  said  the  gentleman,  drawing  her  head  to 
his  breast.      "We  will  soon  be  picked  up  by  some  passing  vessel." 

"  Oh,  sir,  I  was  not  thinking  of  that?  If  Mrs.  Lynne  and  Edith 
are  lost  where  shall  I  go  ?  What  shall  I  do  ?  I  have  no  one  to  turn 
to.     I  am  all  alone  !  " 

The  strong  arms  of  the  old  man  pressed  the  desolate  girl  close 
to  his  heart  with  a  hungry,  heart-famished  expression  in  his  eyes. 

"No,  Violet,  never  all  alone  again,  so  long  as  Robert  Lincoln 
lives!"  he  said  earnestly.  "I  will  care  for  you.  From  this 
moment  you  belong  to  me.  I  had  a  little  girl  once,  but  she  died. 
You  shall  take  her  place  in  my  lonely  heart — you  shall  be  my  Violet, 
my  Heart's-ease." 

"Oh,  I  thank  you  so  much,  Mr.  Lincoln!  "  Violet  replied,  "  and 
if  I  never  see  little  Edith  and  Mrs.  Lynne  again,  I  will  gladly 
stay  with  you',  until  I  can  find  another  situation — if  we  are  saved." 

"  That  is  right,  child,"  and  Mr.  Lincoln  caressed  the  little  hand 
resting  in  his,  with  a  kind,  fartherly  touch.  Then  to  distract  her 
mind  from  her  own  distress,  he  continued  : 


28  A    WA  YSIDE    VIOLET. 

"Now,  Violet,  look  carefully  around  and  see  if  you  can  find 
any  trace  of  the  other  boats  ?  My  old  eyes  are  too  deceiving  to 
trust  them." 

Violet  rose  to  her  feet,  and  steadying  herself  by  placing  her  hands 
upon  Mr.  Lincoln's  shoulders,  she  gazed  long  and  eagerly  out 
upon  the  vast  expanse  of  water,  but  nothing  that  resembled  a  boat 
greeted  her  vision. 

The  Captain  stepped  to  her  side,  and  handing  her  his  glass,  said  : 

"Try  this,  Violet,  it  will  aid  you  very  much." 

She  placed  the  powerful  lens  to  her  eyes  and  looked  again,  and 
was  rewarded  for  her  perseverence  by  seeing  a  little  boat,  quite 
a  distance  from  them,  wholly  at  the  mercy  of  the  waves,  going 
farther  every  moment  from  them,  and  with  a  longing,  shuddering 
sigh  she  recognized  the  crimson  dress  of  little  Edith,  gleaming 
against  the  dark  background. 

"What  is  it,  Violet?  Do  you  see  anything?  questioned  Mr. 
Lincoln. 

"  Oh,  yes,  I  see  a  boat,  and  in  it  little  Edith,"  she  replied  sadly. 
"  Their  oars  are  gone,  and  they  are  drifting  away  from  us." 

"Give  me  the  glass,  child  !  "  the  Captain  said  hastily. 

And  after  gazing  a  moment  through  it,  he  shook  his  head,  and 
drew  a  deep  and  regretful  sigh. 

"  They  are  lost !  "  he  said,  "  they  are  drifting  out  of  the  course 
of  steamers,  and  only  an  accidental  vessel  will  fall  in  with  them. 
It  is  far  better,  Violet,  that  you  took  your  chances  with  us.  We 
have  water  and  provision  for  three  days,  and  I  believe  that  we  shall 
be  overhauled  long  before  that  is  exhausted — at  least,  I  sincerely 
hope  so." 

Violet  looked  earnestly,  pityingly  up  into  the  Captain's  face  for  a 
moment,  then  a  sentence  of  consolation,  that  she  had  tested,  came 
to  her  remembrance,  flooding  her  soul  with  its  presence,  and  lending 
a  soft,  rosy  glow  to  her  fair  face. 

"Yes,  Captain,  you  can  do  more  than  hope,"  she  said,  in 
thrilling,  resolute  tones.  "You  can  trust  in  God — He  will  take 
care  of  us." 

"True,  child,  I  stand  justly  rebuked/'  the  Captain  said,  with  a 
blush  of  shame.  ' '  We  are  in  the  hands  of  God,  and  because  of 
the  one  faithful  soul  with  us,  we  shall  all  be  saved." 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  29 

"  Amen  !  "  came  in  faltering  accents  from  the  trembling  lips 
of  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  tenderly,  caressingly,  he  drew  the  girl  down 
to  his  side. 

The  long  weary  day  merged  into  night,  and  night  into  another 
day,  and  still  no  sight  of  a  sail,  but  Violet  never  grew  discouraged. 
She  cheered  the  tired  sailors,  lightened  the  heart  of  the  distressed 
Captain,  with  her  bright,  comforting  words,  but  most  of  all,  she 
clung  to  her  friend,  Mr.  Lincoln,  with  tender,  loving  confidence. 
And  when  the  evening  of  the  third  day  drew  nigh,  without  relief, 
while  starvation  presented  its  ghastly  form  to  madden  them,  every 
soul  in  the  little  boat  would  have  laid  down  his  life  willingly  for  their 
Heart's-ease,  as  they  all  called  Violet.  But  the  sacrifice  was  not 
demanded  of  them,  for  as  night  settled  around  them,  they  espied  a 
light  off  to  the  eastward,  and  in  a  moment  they  had  hoisted  their 
lantern  to  a  piece  of  broken  mast,  and  began  to  pull  with  a  will  for 
the  vessel. 

Those  on  board  the  vessel  soon  descried  their  little  light,  and 
stayed  their  course  until  the  boat  came  long-side,  and  all  were  taken 
on  deck  and  kindly  cared  for.  Then,  after  cruising  around  some 
time  in  search  of  the  other  boats,  but  without  success,  they  con- 
tinued on  their  way. 

After  landing  safely  in  Liverpool,  Mr.  Lincoln  began  to  consider 
seriously  what  he  should  do  with  Violet.  His  home  was  in  New 
York  City,  and  he  had  just  started  on  a  tour  of  three  years  in  the 
east.  At  last  he  decided  to  talk  with  her  on  the  subject,  hoping 
that  she  might  suggest  something,  and  one  evening  he  entered 
their  pai^lor  for  that  purpose ;  but  Violet  anticipated  his  words, 
and  saved  him  the  embarrassment  he  had  so  much  dreaded. 

"  Mr.  Lincoln,  I  am  glad  that  you  have  come  at  his  moment, 
for  I  have  been  thinking  all  the  evening  that  I  have  burdened  you 
long  enough  with  my  presence.  You  have  been  kindness  itself,  but 
I  must  find  something  to  do.  Even  if  you  desired  it,  1  could  not  sit 
here  and  fold  my  hands  in  idleness,"  Violet  said  earnestly. 

"  Well,  Heart's-ease,  I  was  just  going  to  mention  that  same  mat- 
ter to  you.  I  have  a  proposition  to  make,  and  if  you  do  not  like  it 
I  want  you  to  say  so.  I  want  to  travel  about  three  years,  and  if 
you  do  not  object,  I  would  like  my  little  girl  to  spend  that  time  in 
some  good  school,  and  be  ready  when  we  return  to  New  York  to 
take  charge  of  my  home,  an  accomplished,  polished  young  lady. 
What  do  you  say?  " 


30  A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

"  Oh,  Mr.  Lincoln,  what  you  offer  would  be  heaven  itself  to  me  ! 
But  it  must  not  be.  I  have  no  claim  on  you.  I  cannot  accept 
so  much  from  the  hand  of  one  who  is  almost  a  stranger." 

"  You  do  not  understand,  Violet.  I  have  neither  wife  or  child — 
you  are  defrauding  no  one,  if  you  accept.  I  am  a  lonely,  old  man, 
craving  the  care  and  companionship  of  one  whom  I  have  grown  to 
love  as  my  own  daughter.  I  have  more  wealth  than  I  know  what 
to  do  with,  and  it  would  be  a  kindness  if  you  will  help  me  to 
spend  some  of  it." 

Violet  came  close  to  his  side,  and  laid  her  hand  upon  his  arm, 
then  gazing  searchingly  up  into  his  face — 

"  My  very  soul  craves  the  opportunity  you  so  generously  offer, 
for  I  am  but  a  poor,  ignorant  girl,"  she  said,  with  deep  emotion, 
"  and  if  you  truly  desire  it,  I  will  gladly,  oh,  so  gladly,  accept  your 
kindness,  and  will  try  to  employ  the  three  years  in  such  a  manner 
as  to  bring  no  discredit  upon  your  choice." 

"You  could  not  do  that,  even  now,  little  Heart'sease.  But  for 
your  own  sake — you  would  feel  the  difference.  I  want  you  to  attend 
closely  to  your  studies.  You  are  to  write  to  me  and  acquaint  me 
with  your  progress,  and  at  the  expiration  of  three  years,  I  shall 
come  and  take  you  home.  I  have  but  one  request  to  make — do  not 
give  your  heart  away  while  at  school." 

Violet's  lovely  face  flushed  hotly,  and  her  eyes  drooped  quickly, 
and  for  one  moment  she  was  going  to  tell  him  all  about  her  hasty 
marriage.  That  already  her  heart  had  gone  from  her  keeping,  even 
if  she  never  would  see  the  possessor  again.  But  then,  she  could 
not  tell  her  love — the  love  that  was  born  of  the  most  sacred  moment 
of  her  life — the  love  that  Carl  Leslie  would  smile  at,  if  he  should 
know — but  she  could  promise  that  which  he  seemed  so  much  to 
desire,  and  lifting  her  dainty  head  proudly,  she  said : 

"  Mr.  Lincoln,  I  promise  solemnly  to  hold  myself  aloof  from  all 
gentlemen  society  until  you  return,  and  faithfully  devote  every 
moment  to  my  advancement.  This  is  a  trifling  request  in  return 
for  all  you  are  doing  for  me." 

"  It  is  enough,  Violet — it  is  all  I  ask.  You  belong  to  me  now, 
and  no  breath  of  sorrow  or  distress  shall  ever  come  to  darken  your 
life." 

He  had  forgotten  that, 

"  Who  breathes  must  suffer,  and  who  thinks  must  mourn, 
And  he  alone  is  blessed  who  ne'er  was  born  !  " 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  31 


CHAPTER  IV.— Violet  Lincoln. 


Three  years  of  restful  enjoyment,  through  the  historical  East, 
have  passed,  and  Robert  Lincoln,  looking  only  a  trifle  older,  stands 
before  the  rarest  vision  of  loveliness  his  eyes  ever  rested  upon,  and 
wonders  if  it  can  possibly  be  the  child  of  his  adoption — his  Heart's- 
ease.  He  remembered  that  there  had  been  promise  of  great  beauty 
in  the  sweet  face,  and  graceful,  dignified  form  of  the  young  girl,  but 
he  was  wholly  unprepared  for  this  lovely,  matured  blossom  before 
him. 

He  clasped  both  hands  out-stretched  toward  him,  and  feasted 
his  eyes  on  the  pure  blushing  face,  with  a  thrill  of  exquisite 
rapture,  that  she  was  to  be  near  him  in  all  the  years  to  come. 

"Violet,  you  have  grown  so  beautiful  that  I  almost  doubt  your 
identity  with  the  little  girl  I  left  three  years'  ago,"  he  said  at  last. 
"  Do  you  know  that  although  I  have  been  permitted  to  look  upon 
the  far-famed  beauties  of  Florence,  Rome,  and  Athens,  yet  in  all 
my  wanderings,  '  A  form  more  fair,  a  face  more  sweet,  ne'er  hath 
it  been  my  lot  to  meet,'  than  my  own  Heart's-ease.  My  shy, 
modest  Violet,  under  the  genial  rays  of  the  sunshine,  has  most 
wonderfully  expanded  into  richness  of  tint,  beauty  of  symmetry, 
and  perfection  of  culture." 

A  happy  glow  of  joy  over-spread  Violet's  face,  at  the  words  of 
Mr.  Lincoln — ^joy  that  God  had  given  her  that  which  so  much 
l)leased  her  benefactor — not  a  feeling  of  gratified  vanity,  because 
she  had  been  called  beautiful. 

"  Be  careful,  Mr.  Lincoln,  or  even  at  your  age,  you  may  be 
called  a  flatterer,"  replied  Violet  archly.  "  But  I  am  more  than 
glad  if  I  please  you." 

"Please  me,  Violet!  You  startle  and  bewilder  me,  and  I  long 
to  be  home  that  I  may  become  accustomed  to  your  sweet  presence. 
Shall  we  start  at  once  ?  '' 

"  Yes,  Mr.  Lincoln,  I  am  ready  at  any  time,  and  very  anxious  to 
see  my  new  home  ;  but  I  dread  the  trip  across.  I  shall  never  like 
the  ocean  again,  it  took  my  darling  Edith  from  me,  and  gave  her 
up  to  the  cruel  waves." 

Violet's  head  drooped,  and  the  splendor  of  her  dusk  eyes  was 
veiled  by  their  fringed  lids,  as  the  thrilling  remembrance  flooded 
her  soul. 


32  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

"  And  did  it  give  you  nothing  in  return,  Violet  ?  "  Mr.  Lincoln 
said,  in  low,  tender  tones. 

"  Oh,  yes,  Mr.  Lincoln!  Forgive  me!  Old  Ocean  gave  me 
the  dearest  friend  a  desolate  girl  ever  possessed.  Do  not  think  me 
ungrateful  !  " 

And  with  a  pretty,  impulsive  motion,  she  grasped  his  hand  in 
both  of  her's  and  pressed  it  to  her  lips. 

"Nay,  child,  do  not  even  speak  to  me  of  gratitude  again — you 
owe  me  none.  I  shall  be  the  recipient  of  favor  because  of  your 
companionship.  The  Comet  sails  day  after  to-morrow,  and  she  is 
a  good  vessel.      Do  you  think  you  can  be  ready  so  soon  ?  " 

"Certainly,  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  sooner  if  you  desire,"  Violet  re- 
plied quickly. 

Very  well,  the  time  I  have  named  is  soon  enough.  But  Violet, 
there  is  something  else  I  wish  to  speak  of.  I  do  not  like  the  formal- 
ity of  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  now  that  you  are  to  become  part  of  my  life, 
I  very  much  desire  that  you  would  accept  my  name.  If  you  do 
not  object,  from  this  moment  you  shall  be  Violet  Lincoln,  and  I 
shall  be  Uncle  Robert  to  you.     What  does  my  Heart's-ease  say  ?  " 

Glad  tears  flooded  Violet's  eyes,  and  an  expression  of  great  joy 
surged  over  her  lovely  face. 

"  Oh,  yes.  Uncle  Robert !  I  have  called  you  so  all  these  years 
to  myself,  but  I  dared  not  speak  the  name  aloud,"  she  said,  in  sweet 
confusion.  "I  gladly  accept  the  name  of  A-'iolet  Lincoln,  and 
with  that  gift  I  accept  the  future,  so  full  of  promise,  and  leave  with 
the  discarded  name  of  Markley  the  desolate  memories  of  my  child- 
hood." 

Mr.  Lincoln  bowed  his  head  over  the  fair  young  girl,  and  left  a 
kiss  of  adoption  on  her  brow,  then  with  a  low  "  thank  you,  child," 
he  passed  from  the  room,  leaving  Violet  standing  lost  in  bewilder- 
ing revery,  forming  a  picture  beautiful  enough  to  madden  an 
artist. 

True  to  her  promise,  she  had  not  formed  the  acquaintance  of 
any  gentleman,  during  her  three  years'-  stay  at  school.  Every 
moment  had  been  spent  with  a  view  of  making  herself  worthy  the 
acknowledgment  of  Carl  Leslie,  and  through  that  striving  a  talent 
had  been  developed  that  she  did  not  dream  she  possessed.  Her 
music-teacher  had  early  estimated  the  value  of  her  voice,  and  had 
bent  every  energy  to  its  cultivation,  with  the  happiest  result.     And 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  33 

Violet's  heart  bounded  with  pardonable  pride  as  she  realized  that  if 
need  be,  her  voice  might  become  a  fortune  to  her. 

The  hour  for  her  departure  from  her  pleasant  school  associations 
was  at  hand,  and  many  a  young  girl  clung  with  tender  embrace 
around  Violet's  neck,  reluctant  to  give  her  up,  because  she  was  a 
favorite  with  all — a  fact  Mr.  Lincoln  noted  with  pride — and  when 
they  turned  away,  there  was  an  added  thrill  of  affection  in  his  voice 
on  account  of  it. 

When  they  arrived  on  board  the  vessel,  all  was  bustle  and  hurry. 
Mr.  Lincoln  had  secured  pleasant  state-rooms  for  Violet  and  him- 
self, but  neither  tarried  in  them  long,  but  hastened  on  deck  to  watch 
the  receding  shore. 

They  were  standing  gazing  off  shore-ward,  when  a  voice  fell  on 
Violet's  ear  which  sent  every  drop  of  blood  in  her  veins  rushing 
like  a  torrent  to  her  wildly  palpitating  heart,  and  turning  quickly 
she  met  the  dark  eyes  of  Carl  Leslie — her  husband.  She  withdrew 
her  gaze  instantly,  a  vivid  flush  leaping  to  her  cheeks,  but  not  with- 
out realizing  that  it  had  been  returned  with  interest.  She  did  not 
fear  that  he  would  recognize  her — dress,  culture  and  years,  had 
made  such  a  thing  impossible  ;  but  she  would  have  known  him  any- 
where in  the  world.  He  possessed  the  same  handsome  face,  dark 
expressive  eyes,  and  tender,  resolute  lips,  that  were  so  indellibly 
stamped  on  her  heart. 

And  Carl  Leslie — what  did  he  think  of  the  fair  girl  whose  glance 
met  his  so  blushingly?  Did  he  associate  her  with  the  little  girl  to 
whom  he  had  given  the  shelter  of  his  name,  and  had  kissed  good- 
bye at  the  spring  ?  No,  not  even  in  the  faintest  degree.  He  only 
recognized  in  Violet  Lincoln  the  fairest  girl  in  all  the  world,  and 
his  heart  thrilled  as  it  never  had  done  before,  because  of  the  know- 
ledge that  he  would  be  near  her  for  some  time. 

In  all  his  wanderings  he  had  never  forgotten  the  hour  when  Dora 
Markley  had  trustingly  laid  her  small  brown  hand  in  his,  and  fal- 
tered out  the  assent  which  had  bound  them  together  as  husband  and 
wife  until  death  should  part  them  ;  and  her  kiss,  so  pure,  had  re- 
mained on  his  lips,  unsullied  by  the  touch  of  another.  He  some- 
times thought  of  Louise,  but  only  with  a  feeling  of  indifference ; 
because,  after  the  first  wave  of  indignation  had  subsided,  he  knew 
that  it  had  been  but  an  acknowledgment  of  her  fascinations — not 
a  love  that  lives  forever — that  had  filled  his  heart. 
3 


34  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

Somehow  Carl  could  not  prevent  his  eyes  from  seeking  the  blush- 
ing face  of  Violet,  and  after  a  while,  when  Mr.  Lincoln  carelessly 
turned  his  face  toward  him,  his  heart  leaped  with  joy,  as  he  recog- 
nized in  him,  one  whom  he  had  met  while  traveling  in  the  East, 
and  had  assisted  very  materially  in  an  adventure,  which  might  have 
proven  disastrous,  but  for  him. 

Mr.  Lincoln  started  perceptibly  as  his  eyes  rested  upon  Carl's 
eager,  flushed  face,  and  with  a  pleasant  smile,  he  stepped  forward 
and  grasped  his  hand. 

"  Glad  to  see  you,  Mr.  Leslie  !  "  he  said,  heartily.  "  Glad  that 
5'^ou  are  to  be  a  fellow-passenger  on  board  the  Comet.  You  proved 
yourself  very  handy  and  willing  when  last  we  met,  and  I  shall  not 
regret  that  you  will  be  conveniently  near  in  case  of  an  emergency." 

''Thank  you,  Mr.  Lincoln.  I  would  gladly  be  of  service  to 
you,  although  I  trust  there  will  be  no  occasion,  on  our  trip  to  New 
York." 

"True,  true  !  The  last  time  that  I  was  at  the  mercy  of  Old 
Ocean,  she  used  me  shabbily,  I  must  confess.  She  ought  to  do  bet- 
ter this  tim,e,  if  only  to  show  that  she  could  behave  herself.  Eh, 
Heart's-ease,  what  do  you  think  ?" 

Violet  turned  blushing  toward  them,  as  she  was  addressed,  and 
Mr.  Lincoln,   with  his  hand  still  resting  in  Carl's,  said  : 

"  Mr.  Leslie,   allow  me  to  introduce  Miss  Violet  Lincoln." 

Carl  lifted  his  hat  with  courtly  grace  in  appreciation  of  the  honor, 
while  Violet  flushed  hotly,  and  sent  him  a  glance  from  her  violet 
eyes  that  tingled  and  thrilled  his  inmost  being,  as  she  acknowledged 
the  introduction. 

"  Miss  Lincoln  my  friend  has  intimated  that  your  trip  to  Eng- 
land was  a  stormy  one,"  Carl  said.  "  I  hope  your  return  may  be 
more  pleasant." 

"Thanks,  Mr.  Leslie.  It  was  an  experience  that  I  have  no  de- 
sire to  repeat — even  the  remembrance  makes  me  shudder,  after 
three  years." 

"  I  should  say  so  !  Why,  Mr.  Leslie,  it  would  have  caused  a 
piece  of  statuary  to  shudder.  You  remember,  no  doubt,  of  reading 
about  the  burning  of  the  Lady  Gay?  .Well,  we  were  barely  saved 
trom  going  down  with  her." 

"Indeed,  I  do,"  replied  Carl,  deeply  interested.  "And  you 
were  on  board  ?  " 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  35 

"  Yes.  I  believe  Violet  and  I  were  all  the  passengers  who  were 
saved.  We  took  our  chances  with  captain  and  crew,  and  were 
picked  up  after  three  days  in  a  life  boat." 

"Ah,  yes.  I  remember  that  you  told  me  something  of  your 
shipwreck  at  the  time  we  met  in  the  pass  of  the  Simplon,"  said 
Carl. 

"  By  the  way,  Violet,  I  never  related  how  near  I  came  to  losing 
my  life  in  that  same  famous  pass,  did  I  ?  "  Mr.  Lincoln  asked, 
turning  to  Violet. 

"  No,  Uncle  Robert,  but  it  is  not  too  late — won't  you  tell  me 
now  ?  I  know  Mr.  Leslie  would  enjoy  the  recital  of  an  adven- 
ture." 

Mr.  Lincoln  burst  into  a  merry  laugh,  and  looked  at  Carl,  who 
stood  shaking  his  head  at  him,  the  rich  crimson  tinging  his  cheeks 
and  brow. 

"I  guess  Mr.  Leslie  could  tell  you  about  the  little  affair  much 
better  than  I  could,  Violet;  but  for  fear  he  will  not  give  'honor 
to  whom  honor  is  due,'  I  will  relate  it  myself.  While  in  Switzer- 
land, I  joined  a  party  of  sight-seekers  on  their  way  to  Italy.  After 
we  had  entered  the  renowned  pass  of  the  Simplon,  a  wild,  desolate 
place,  where  rocks  tower  hundreds  of  feet  on  either  side,  or  displayed 
precipices  that  seem  interminable  in  their  depths,  in  my  awe  and 
wonder  I  fell  behind  the  party,  and  in  some  unaccountable  manner 
lost  my  footing,  and  was  over  the  rugged  side  before  I  was  aware 
of  my  danger.  Bruised  and  bewildered,  I  lay  on  a  ledge  of  rock, 
some  ten  feet  from  the  top,  utterly  unable  to  save  myself.  Mr. 
Leslie  belonged  to  the  company,  and  his  true,  honest  heart  missed 
me,  and  alone  he  turned  back  to  seek  one  who  was  a  perfect  stran- 
ger to  him.  His  search  was  rewarded,  and  with  his  strong  arm 
and  a  rope  I  was  raised  to  a  place  of  safety.  Think  you,  Violet, 
that  I  owe  him  anything  in  the  way  of  gratitude  ?  " 

Tears  sprang  unbidden  to  Violet's  eyes,  while  she  listened.  Her 
darling,  her  love,  had  done  all  this !  She  gave  both  little  trembling 
hands  to  Carl,  and  looked  up  into  his  face,  a  tender  love-glow 
flooding  her  own,  and  said  : 

' '  Mr.  Leslie,  I  thank  you  more  than  words  can  express  for  sav- 
ing the  life  of  one  who  is  very  dear  to  me — but,  more  than  all,  I 
thank  God  that  he  has  crowned  your  life  with  noble,  true  manhood. 
I  would  have  been  desolate  indeed  without  Uncle  Robert." 


36  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

Carl  could  not  speak,  he  could  only  clasp  the  little  hands  still 
closer,  glad  that  through  service  to  Mr.  Lincoln  he  had  uncon- 
sciously given  comfort  and  joy  to  this  fair  girl. 

And  thus  the  three  so  strangely  met  fell  into  a  pleasant  conversa- 
tion which  lasted  some  time,  and  when  Violet  signified  her  desire  to 
leave  the  deck,  it  was  Carl  Leslie's  strong  arm  that  assisted  her 
below,  and  his  tender,  admiring  glance  that  caused  the  crimson 
glow  to  leap  to  cheek  and  brow,  as  he  left  her  at  the  door  of  her 
state-room. 

After  that  the  days  passed  like  a  dream  of  delight  to  Carl  and 
Violet,  while  Mr.  Lincoln  in  enjoying  their  happiness,  seemed  to 
fail  entirely  to  see  where  they  were  drifting. 

Violet  soon  found  that  no  thought  of  her  identity  had  entered  the 
mind  of  Carl,  and  she  was  determined  never  to  betray  their  rela- 
tionship until  she  had  won  his  love  ;  and  sometimes  when  he  could 
not  hide  that  love,  she  would  inconsistently  sigh  for  his  lack  of  honor 
for  his  forgetfulness  of  his  bride.  She  did  not  consider  that  she 
was  lavishing  all  the  wealth  of  her  girl-heart  upon  him,  and  that 
he  could  no  more  help  loving  her  than  a  tiny  boat  could  pull  against 
the  current  of  the  Niagara.  But  it  was  different  with  her,  she  real- 
ized her  right  to  love  him  with  all  her  soul — was  he  not  her  husband, 
could  any  one  claim  more  of  her  heart-worship  ?  And  her  soul 
declared,  none  but  God. 

Ah,  little  did  Violet  understand  the  turbulent  state  of  Carl's  feel- 
ings !  He  knew  now  that  never  before  had  his  heart  responded  to 
the  touch  of  the  God  of  Love.  And  while  he  would  have  given  his 
life  for  the  love  of  Violet,  he  was  truly,  fatally  bound  to  Dora 
Markley;  but  he  was  not  brave  enough  to  shun  her  presence — even 
when  he  knew  that  it  was  wrong.  How  could  he  be  discreet  when 
every  glance  of  her  dusk  eyes  bid  him  tarry  by  her  side  ?  And 
wholly  regardless  of  the  result  he  gave  himself  up  to  the  bewilder- 
ing delight  of  her  society,  every  day  growing  less  strong  to  resist 
the  torrent    of  his  love,    and  do  that  which  he  knew  was  right. 

The  last  evening  on  board  the  vessel,  as  they  were  slowly  prome- 
nading the  deck,  in  the  silvery  moonlight,  Carl  drew  his  lovely  com- 
panion closer  to  his  side,  and  said  in  low,  thrilling  tones  : 

"  Violet,  do  you  know  that  I  wish  we  might  sail  on  forever  in  the 
Comet,  just  as  we  are  now.  My  whole  being  rebels  against  the  sepa- 
ration of  to-morrow !  " 


A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET.  37 

The  velvety  eyes  were  uplifted  in  startled  dismay,  and  the  sweet 
face  paled  and  flushed  in  the  moonlight. 

"Why,  Carl,  we  shall  see  each  other  often — we  shall  both  stay 
in  New  Yoik  !  What  do  you  mean  by  a  separation  ?  "  she  ques- 
tioned eagerly, 

"  Yes,  Violet,  I  trust  I  shall  see  you  often  ;  but  I  can  never  have 
you  all  mine  again,  as  I  claim  you  now.  I  had  not  intended  to  say 
in  words  what  every  action  and  glance  have  repeated  over  and  over ; 
but,  Violet,  darling,  I  love  you — I  love  you  !  Yes,  every  pulsation 
of  my  heart  breathes  your  name,  although  it  is  dishonorable  in  me 
to  declare  it.     I  have  no  right,  forgive  me,  I  have  no  right !  " 

Carl  bowed  his  head  in  bitter  anguish,  while  all  the  pride  in  Vio- 
let's heart  flooded  her  dusk  eyes  with  its  glow,  because  he  had  been 
true  to  his  honor — because  he  had  acknowledged  the  claim  of  the 
trusting  young  girl  wife,  even  while  his  very  soul  cried  out  against 
the  decree. 

Carl  felt  her  form  quiver,  and  her  heart  throb  wildly  against  his 
arm,  and  with  a  glad  accent  tendering  and  thrilling  every  word,  he 
said  : 

"  Violet,  forgive  me,  but  you  do  not  hate  me,  because  I  was  not 
strong  enough  to  do  right  ?  I  could  not  seal  my  lips  against  the 
confession  I  have  made.  You  have  my  heart,  with  all  its  first,  mad- 
dening, absorbing  love  ;  but,  oh,  darling,  I  cannot  offer  you  my 
hand — it  belongs  to  another.'' 

Violet  stopped  him  abruptly  in  their  promenade,  and  looked  up 
into  his  face,  her  own  radiant  as  the  first  blush  of  morning,  her  vio- 
let eyes  gleaming  like  stars,  and  her  lips  parted  breathlessly, 

"Carl,  you  are  the  truest,  noblest  man  in  all  the  world — and  I 
love  you  !  "  she  said,  her  voice  ringing  out  in  clear,  resolute  con- 
fession and  pride,  because  of  the  object  of  that  love.  "  I  shall 
claim  the  affection  of  your  heart,  and  perhaps  sometime  you  may  be 
free  to  place  your  hand  with  it." 

If  it  had  not  been  for  the  knowledge  Violet  possessed,  she  could 
not  have  so  bravely  confessed  her  love,  and  suggested  a  possible 
future  for  them;  but  even  now,  although  he  was  ignorant  of  the  fact, 
she  belonged  wholly,  completely,  to  him. 

"  Don't,  darling  !  You  know  not  how  you  tempt  me,"  Carl 
said,  his  voice  hoarse  and  agitated,  and  he  drew  her  close  to  his  side; 


38  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

"  but  let  the  worst  come,  nothing  can  take  from  me  the  comfort  of 
the  knowledge  that  you  love  me." 

Carl  bent  his  head  to  press  a  kiss  upon  the  crimson  lips,  so  tempt- 
ingly near,  but  the  remembrance  of  a  caress  he  had  received  from 
his  trusting  girl-bride,  caused  him  to  change  his  intentions,  and, 
instead,  he  touched  his  lips  to  her  brown  hair  in  tender  reverence. 

They  talked  long  and  earnestly  that  last  precious  evening  they 
were  to  enjoy  together,  as  arm  in  arm  they  walked  the  deck  of 
the  Comet ;  always  as  lovers,  but  with  the  barrier  of  a  pair  of  little 
brown  girl-hands  between  them. 

Some  strange  freak  prompted  Violet  to  delay  the  disclosure  of  her 
identity  for  a  few  days  ;  and  unconsciously,  through  her  decision, 
she  gave  satan  an  opportunity  to  work  out  great  misery  and  crush- 
ing sorrow  for  both. 

Once  when  Carl  had  said  hopefully  : 

"  Violet,  I  feel,  I  believe,  that  it  is  not  wrong  for  rae  to  love  you 
so  deeply,  that  somehow,  God  will  make  it  all  right  in  His  own 
good  time."  Violet  remembered  that  the  same  expression  of  half- 
doubt  and  desire  to  believe,  surged  over  his  face,  as  when  he  said 
to  her,    ''God  will  care  for  you." 


CHAPTER  v.— Violet  in  Her  New  Home. 

It  was  in  the  gray  of  eariy  morning  when  the  Comet  swung 
around  and  settled  like  a  great  white  bird  at  the  landing  in  the 
city  of  New  York,  but  it  was  almost  nine  o'clock  before  Violet, 
Mr.  Lincoln  and  Carl  stepped  across  the  plank  and  rested  their 
feet  upon  American  soil. 

A  handsome  carriage  was  in  waiting  for  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  with 
an  audible  sign  of  regret,  Carl  handed  Violet  to  a  seat,  then  lifted 
his  hat  and  stood  aside  as  they  dashed  away. 

Violet  had  expected  to  find  her  new  home  one  of  wealth  and 
luxury,  but  when  they  drew  up  before  a  magnificent  building 
and  passed  inside  she  was  wholly  unprepared  for  the  oriental 
splendor  which  greeted  her  on  every  side. 

Mr.  Lincoln  enjoyed  her  amazement,  and  delight  for  a  moment, 
then  turning  to  a  stately,  middle-aged  woman,  who  had  just  made 
her  appearance,  he  said  : 

"Violet,  this  is  my  worthy  house-keeper;  Mrs.  Burnett,  Miss 
Violet  Lincoln,  the  future  mistress  of  my  home." 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  39 

Violet  greeted  Mrs.  Burnett  pleasantly,  her  heart  going  out  in 
interest  and  affection  to  the  motherly  woman  who  bent  her  eyes 
in  kindly  curiosity  upon  the  fair,  queenly  girl  before  her,  then 
she  followed  her  to  tlie  elegant  rooms  which  had  been  prepared 
for  her.  She  sank  into  nn  easy  chair,  and  laying  her  head  back 
against  its  velvet  softness,  she  gave  herself  up  to  thought.  Ought 
she  to  remain  in  this  beautiful  home  to  which  she  had  no  right  ? 
She  had  spoken  so  often  of  earning  her  own  way  in  the  world, 
and  it  seemed  to  distress  Mr.  Lincoln  so  much,  that  she  had  let 
the  subject  drop ;  but  now,  as  she  realized  the  extent  of  all  the 
favor  he  would  la,vish  upon  her,  her  inmost  soul  was  overwhelm- 
ed with  a  sense  of  his  regal  generosity.  He  was  too  magnani- 
mous— she  dared  not  accept  it  at  the  hands  of  one  whom  she  had  no 
claim  upon.  As  she  continued  to  dwell  upon  the  imposition  on 
his  kindness,  she  sprang  to  her  feel,  and  with  the  impulses  of  a 
child  she  hastened  down  stairs  and  into  the  elegant  apartment  in 
which  she  had  left  Mr.  Lincoln,  determined  to  force  him  to  listen 
and  be  reasonable  with  her. 

She  found  him  standing  before  a  portrait  of  a  rarely  beautiful 
girl,  his  hands  clasped  behind  him,  and  his  eyes  raised  to  the 
face  above  him,   in  yearning,  pitiful  tenderness. 

She  stole  silently  to  his  side,  and  laid  her  hand  upon  his  arm, 
before  he  was  aware  of  her  presence,  then  as  he  turned  and 
beheld  her  shy,  sweet  face,  such  a  look  of  joy  overspread  his  own 
as  to  almost  startle  her. 

"What  does  my  Heart's-ease  want?"  he  questioned,  while  he 
stroked  her  brown  hair  with  a  tender,  caressing  touch. 

She  bent  her  head  a  moment  in  resignation  to  her  resolve,  then 
the  words  came  from  her  lips  passionately,  earnestly,  but  oh,  so 
reluctantly. 

"Uncle  Robert,  I  have  come  to  tell  you  that  I  cannot  accept 
the  shelter  of  your  home — it  is  all  so  grand,  so  magnificent — I 
must  not  stay  here.  I  have  no  claim — no  right  to  this  regal 
home.  I  am  a  child  of  poverty,  unfit,  but  for  your  liberality,  to 
even  dwell  here  as  a  servant." 

"  Don't,  child  !  "  he  said,  his  own  voice  choked  with  sobs.  "  I 
know  that  you  would  not  willingly  grieve  the  heart  of  an  old 
desolate  man,  but  every  word  you  utter  stabs  me  like  a  cruel 
knife.     What  I  offer    you  is  but    dross — but   chaff — while    I    ask 


40  A    WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

you  for  the  pure  gold  of  your  young  life — for  the  sacrifice  of 
yourself  to  the  companionship  of  a  childish  old  man.  My  Hea- 
venly Father  gave  you  to  me,  and  you  are  as  sacred  to  me  as 
the  memory  of  my  lost  Violet  up  there.  Heart's-ease,  I  have 
given  you  her  place  in  my  heart,  and  her  chair  at  my  fireside. 
You  will  not  deprive  me  of  my  comforter — you  will  not  leave 
me  alone  ?  " 

Violet  reached  out  her  hands  and  placed  them  in  those  of  her 
kind  old  friend,  wave  after  wave  of  crimson,  betokening  her  exqui- 
site rapture,  staining  cheek  and  brow,  and  gladness  shining  from 
her  soulful  eyes. 

"  I  accept  your  lost  Violet's  place  in  your  true,  honest  heart 
and  in  your  home,  thankfully,  gratefully,  promising  never  to  men- 
tion the  subject  again  without  your  permission,"  she  said,  her 
voice  trembling  with  emotion.  "And  your  daughter's  name  was 
Violet,  Uncle  Robert  ?  that  accounts  for  your  being  attracted 
toward  me.     How  beautiful  she  was  !  " 

And  Violet  lifted  her  eyes  again  to  the  lovely  blonde  face 
above  her. 

"Yes,  Violet,  your  name  caught  my  fancy,  then  your  sv/eet, 
winning  ways  won  the  old  man's  affection,  until  to-day  you  are 
the  bright  sun  of  mj^  day,  the  one  star  of  my  night,  and  I  claim 
you  all  my  own  pure  Heart's-ease.  I  have  regretted  many  times, 
that  in  some  way  you  do  not  resemble  the  one  whose  place  you 
fill,  but  you  are  her  opposite  in  every  respect,  but  sunny  dispo- 
sition and  merry,  winsome  manner.  Violet,  my  child  sadly  repaid 
all  my  love  and  care — she  left  home  and  married  some  scapegrace. 
I  have  never  learned  his  name,  and  I  never  saw  my  pride  and 
joy  again.  I  was  hasty,  I  know,  but  she  was  all  I  had  left  in 
the  world  to  love.  God  grant  that  you  may  not  do  likewise  ! 
Now,  if  you  are  satisfied  to  be  my  little  comforter,  and  not  bother 
any  more  about  impossibilities,  I  think  that  you  had  better  return 
to  your  room,  and  lay  aside  your  hat,  and  stay  awhile,"  said  Mr. 
Lincoln,  playfully,  as  with  blushing  delight  Violet  turned  to  leave 
the  room. 

The  first  week  passed  as  a  whirl  of  busy  shopping,  and  becom- 
ing accustomed  to  her  elegant  surroundings;  but  with  all,  she  did 
not  forget  Carl,  her  lover — Carl,  her  husband.  Every  pulsation 
of  her  true  young  heart  was  loyal  to  him,  and  his  name  mingled 
pleasantly  with  every  thought. 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  41 

One  evening  as  she  sat  at  the  grand  piano,  touching  the  keys 
hghtly,  bringing  out  low,  soft  strains  of  music,  Mr.  Lincoln  en- 
tered the  room  and  crossed  to  her  side,  and  laying  his  hands 
upon  her  shoulders,  he  drew  her  head  back  against  him,  and 
looked  down  laughingly  into  her  fair  face. 

"  How  would  my  shy  Violet  like  to  attend  the  first  grand 
party  of  the  season?"  he  questioned.  "The  invitations  are  out 
and  we  have  been  favored." 

A  half  startled  expression  crept  into  Violet's  eyes. 

"  Oh,  Uncle  Robert,  1  cannot  go!  I  never  attended  a  party 
in  all  my  life.     I  would  not  know  how  to  act." 

"  Nonsense,  child  !  Just  act  yourself  and  nothing  could  be 
more  perfect.  You  could  not  be  awkward  if  you  was  to  try. 
It  is  too  late  now,  I  have  accepted  for  you.  Besides,  I  have  a 
fancy  to  show  my  little  Heart's-ease  to  the  elite  of  New  York 
society.  You  need  not  fear  for  the  result.  Of  course,  now  that 
music  is  all  the  rage,  you  will  be  expected  to  play  some.  How 
I  wish  that  you  could  sing." 

"  Why,  Uncle  Robert,  you  never  asked  me  to  sing  !  I  did  not 
know  that  you  cared  for  vocal  music." 

"Oh,  yes,  there  is  nothing  so  gladdens  my  heart  as  the  sweet 
influence  of  song.     Can  you  sing  ?  " 

"Yes,  a  little,"  she  said.  Then  a  rougish  light  crept  into  her 
eyes,  and  she  added  very  demurely,  "after  the  party  I  will  sing 
for  you.  It  will  take  all  of  my  time  to  prepare  something  nice 
to  play,  if  there  is  a  probability  of  my  being  requested  to  make  a 
display  of  myself." 

Violet's  lips  parted  in  smiling  consciousness,  and  her  eyes  spar- 
kled as  she  thought  of  the  surprise  she  had  in  store  for  Mr.  Lin- 
coln. She  knew  that  he  did  not  dream  of  the  power  of  her 
voice,  and  a  desire  formed  itself  in  her  mind,  that  if  an  oppor- 
tunity presented  at  the  party,  to  give  him  a  pleasure  that  he  did 
not  anticipate. 

"I  shall  be  a  stranger  to  all,  Uncle  Robert.  I  have  no  doubt 
my  enjoyment  will  be  great,"  said  Violet,  as  she  drew  down  the 
corners  of  her  dainty  mouth  ironically.  "You  need  not  expect 
to  leave  my  side  even  for  a  moment,  just  to  punish  you  for  dar- 
ing to  accept  an  invitatioji  without  consulting  me." 


42  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

"That  would  be  no  penalty  at  all,  Violet,  but  an  honor,"  he 
said,  as  his  hand  lingered  caressingly  on  her  brown  hair,  ''but 
if  I  secure  a  five  minute's  uninterrupted  chat  with  you,  I  shall 
do  much  better  than  I  expect.  You  seem  to  have  forgotten  that 
young  Leslie  will  be  there.  He  is  the  lion  of  New  York  society 
at  present,  and  he  is  not  likely  to  forget  my  little  girl  so  soon, 
I  imagine.  Strange  that  so  fine  looking  a  young  man  has  not 
married  ere  this." 

Violet  could  not  repress  just  the  least  bit  of  a  silvery  laugh  as 
she  thought  what  a  disturbance  she  might  produce  by  a  confes- 
sion— but  the  time  was  not  yet.  and  with  a  shadow  of  mischief 
still  lurking  in  her  dark  eyes,  she  replied  gravely  : 

"It  is  strange,  Uncle  Robert.  I  expect  that  he  has  never  met 
his  affinity  as  yet.  I  shall  be  very  glad  to  meet  him  again.  He 
made  my  trip  across  the  ocean  quite  pleasant." 

"I  would  say  so,  Violet!"  and  a  merry  twinkle  came  to  his 
eyes  as  he  spoke,  "and  he  seemed  to  find  some  little  pleasure 
in  trying  to  entertain  my  Heart's-ease.  I  am  surprised  that  he 
has  not  called." 

Violet  did  not  wonder  at  his  absence,  for  well  she  knew  that 
he  was  striving  to  cast  aside  all  the  responsibility  and  claim  of 
the  ceremony  performed  in  the  woodland  by  the  spring,  and  his 
absence  only  told  her  that  he  had  not  succeeded.  And  at  times 
she  found  it  very  difficult  to  decide  whether  she  desired  most 
that  he  should  love  Violet  Lincoln  with  all  the  power  of  his  soul, 
or  be  true  to  poor  little  Dora  Markley. 

"  Perhaps  he  is  renewing  old  acquaintances,  Uncle  Robert," 
said  Violet,  musingly.  "  You  know  that  he  has  been  absent  from 
his  home  three  ^^ears." 

"  Of  course,  I  did  not  think  of  that.  We  will  excuse  him  on 
that  ground,  eh,  Violet  ?  If  gossip  tells  the  truth  there  was  a  cer- 
tain young  lady  of  New  York  who  caused  his  sudden  departure 
and  prolonged  stay.  You  see,  Violet,  it  was  told  me  since  my 
return — such  things  are  always  resurrected  the  first  opportunity. 
He  was  engaged  to  marry  Louise  Dupont,  a  very  handsome  French 
girl,  and  every  arrangement  consummated,  when  she  found  that 
she  could  secure  an  old  man  with  an  immense  fortune ;  and,  just 
like  the  confounded  French,  she  threw  .him  over  at  the  last  mo- 
ment,   and  he  left    the  country.     She  married  the  old   man,  and 


A    WAYSIDE    VIOLET.  43 

within  the  year  he  died,  leaving  her  mistress  of  his  vast  fortune. 
Society  thinks  that  she  will  catch  Carl  yet,  but  I  believe  the  boy 
is  too  wise  to  play  with  fire  the  second  time." 

Violet  listened  breathlessly  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  recital,  in  which 
many  things  that  she  had  failed  to  understand  were  made  plain. 
She  realized  now  why  Carl  was  so  ready  to  marry  the  poor, 
distressed  girl,  and  how  he  came  to  have  the  marriage  certificate 
so  convenient.  He  had  recklessly  flung  away  his  freedom,  be- 
cause every  aim  in  life  had  been  crushed — every  desire  trampled 
upon  by  a  heartless  woman.  And  he  had  loved  that  one — he 
would  meet  her  again.  Perhaps  the  sight  of  his  first  love  would 
fan  the  slumbering  flame  into  new  life,  and  she  would  be  forgot- 
ten. How  glad  she  was  that  she  had  not  confessed  her  relation- 
ship  to  him ;  but  oh,  what  a  sad,  doubting  pain  had  crept  into 
her  heart  within  the  last  few  moments,  shadowing  the  sun  of  her 
day,  bringing  darkness  into  the  joy  of  her  existence.  And  the 
sad  refrain  repeated  itself  over  and  over  to  her  tortured  soul, 
that  he  did  not  belong  to  her,  although  in  the  security  of  her 
love  she  had  claimed  him  all  her  own. 

Mr.  Lincoln  noticed  how  still  Violet  was,  and  how  pale  her 
sweet  face  had  become,  and  he  said  playfully  : 

"But,  Heart's-ease,  if  you  like  him,  all  the  French  widows  in 
Christendom  won't  make  any  difference.  He  could  not  help 
loving  you,  and  you  have  the  advantage  of  a  two  week's  sail 
with  him." 

The  shadow  of  pain  in  the  dark  eyes  deepened  a  trifle,  her 
voice  trembled  a  little,   but    her  words  were  brave  and  resolute  : 

"Indeed,  Uncle  Robert,  because  we  were  thrown  together  as 
fellow-passengers  it  does  not  follow  that  either  have  indulged  an 
interest  beyond  that  which  the  circumstances  permitted.  You 
know  on  board  a  vessel  formalities  are  absurd,  and  we  feel  a 
freedom  that  would  be  unpardonable  anywhere  else." 

"Yes,  yes,  child!  I  was  only  teasing  you.  I  know  that  you 
are  fancy  free,  and  I  trust  that  you  will  remain  so  for  many 
years  to  come." 

But  even  while  he  spoke  he  thought  proudly,  that  no  society 
belle  could  have  parried  the  thrust  better,  and  come  what  might 
she  would  not  wear  her  heart  upon  the  sleeve. 


44  A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

CHAPTER  VI.— Violet's  Triumph. 

The  days  passed  very  pleasantly  to  Violet,  in  her  beautiful 
home,  every  wish  seemed  to  be  anticipated  by  Mr.  Lincoln,  and 
every  possible  favor  lavished  upon  her.  Mrs.  Burnett,  the  worthy 
house-keeper,  almost  worshipped  the  fair  young  girl,  who  had 
come  like  a  ray  of  sunlight  into  her  quiet  life,  and  Violet  found 
her  helpful  in  many  ways  beyond  that  which  her  position  war- 
ranted. She  had  seen  much  of  fashionable  life,  and  possessed 
taste  and  refinement,  and  Violet  soon  learned  to  go  to  her  for 
advice  in  many  things  pertaining  to  her  present  position,  that  she 
would  have  been  sadly  at  a  loss  without. 

It  was  with  a  feeling  of  feverish  unrest  that  she  awaited  the 
ordeal  of  her  first  party.  As  a  rule,  young  girls  look  forward  to 
their  first  appearance  in  society  as  the  crowning  joy  of  their  life, 
but  a  dread  and  timidity  so  intermingled  with  her  prospective 
delight  as  to  almost  overshadow  it  as  the  hour  drew  near. 
Could  she  bear  the  meeting  with  Carl,  and  perhaps  be  forced  to 
witness  his  return  of  allegiance  to  the  love  that  had  almost 
wrecked  his  life  ?  Would  he  prove  false  to  his  girl-wife  and  his 
vows  to  Violet  Lincoln  ?  And  even  while  her  heart  declared, 
no,  never  !  her  doubting  lips  faltered  perhaps  ;  and  so  she  lingered 
in  the  torments  of  indecision. 

When  the  last  touch  had  been  given  her  exquisite  toilet,  Mrs. 
Burnett  stepped  back  from  her  side  a  little,  to  view  the  gloriously 
beautiful  girl. 

"You  will  be  the  loveliest  lady  at  the  party,  Miss  Violet,"  she 
said,  rapturously. 

'*  Don't  flatter  me,  Mrs.  Burnett.  You  know  I  expect  the  truth 
from  you  and  Uncle  Robert,"  Violet  replied,  while  a  softer  light 
came  into  her  eyes,   and  a  rare  smile  played  about  her  rosy  lips. 

"  I  have  given  you  the  truth.  Miss  Violet,  and  then  the  half 
has  not  been  told.  Mr.  Lincoln  is  "waiting.  You  are  ready,  are 
you  not  ?  " 

"Yes,  all  ready,  I  believe.  Come,  Mrs.  Burnett,  we  will  hear 
Uncle  Robert's  opinion." 

And  the  half-timid,  half-eager  girl,  and  stately  house-keeper 
passed  out  and  down  the  stairway,  followed  by  the  delighted  maid 
bearing  her  dainty  wrappings.     As  they  entered  the   parlor,   Mr. 


A   WAYSIDE  VIOLET.  45 

Lincoln  turned  and  gazed  a  moment  upon  Violet    as  she    halted 
before  him. 

"  My  beautiful  Violet!  "  he  said  joyfully.  "Is  it  possible  that 
flesh  and  blood  can  be  so  perfect  ? " 

"There,  Miss  Violet,  are  you  convinced?"  exclaimed  Mrs. 
Burnett,  triumphantly. 

■  "Oh,  yes,  beyond  controversy!"  laughingly  replied  Violet. 
"You  are  both  determined  to  spoil  me  with  flattery,  but  I  am 
so  glad,  Uncle  Robert,  if  I  please  you  to-night." 

And  even  while  she  spoke,  she  was  thinking  far  more  of  what 
Carl's  judgment  would  be,  than  anything  else,  and  wondering  if 
she  would  suffer  by  the  contrast  with  the  fair  young  widow. 

Very  carefully  Mr.  Lincoln  wrapped  the  slender  form  in  the 
fur-lined  white  satin  cloak,  and  entered  the  carriage.  They  were 
soon  at  the  residence  of  Orlando  Travis,  the  leader  of  New  York 
society. 

They  were  late,  as  Mr.  Lincoln  intended  they  should  be  ;  and 
as  Violet  entered  the  long,  lofty  parlor  on  the  arm  of  her  escort 
every  eye  was  turned  upon  her,  and  every  voice  hushed  in 
eager  admiration  of  the  royal  young,  beauty,  so  modest,  yet  so 
self-possessed. 

Mr.  Lincoln  gave  one  doubtful  glance  down  at  the  fair  face 
by  his  side,  for  he  realized  that  the  ordeal  was  more  trying  than 
he  had  expected,  but  his  old  eyes  sparkled  with  pride,  and  he 
gave  her  arm  a  reassuring  little  pressure  as  he  noted  her  dignified, 
graceful  bearing,  and  entire  freedom  from  embarrassment. 

But  under  all  her  outward  composure,  Violet's  heart  was  throb- 
bing like  that  of  some  frightened  bird.  At  first  she  saw  only  a 
sea  of  curious  faces  uplifted  to  hers,  and  cold  criticising  eyes 
passing  judgment  upon  her,  but  soon  she  became  accustomed  to 
her  surroundings  and  she  began  to  individualize  and  wonder. 
Introductions  followed  her  presentation  to  host  and  hostess,  until 
the  name  of  Mrs.  Willett  caused  the  color  to  leave  her  face, 
and  a  startled  expression  to  come  into  her  eyes,  as  she  looked 
eagerly  into  the  lovely  face  of  the  one  who  had  unconsciously 
brought  dismay  and  doubt  into  her  heart,  and  as  she  continued 
to  look  she  was  obliged  to  acknowledge  that  she  was  wondrous 
fair.  Then  a  voice,  low  and  tender,  but  deep  with  powerful 
feeling,  brought  the    ready  blush    to  cheek    and  brow,    and  Carl 


46  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

Leslie  was  by  her  side,  clasping  her  hand  and  eagerly  expressing 
his  delight  at  their  meeting. 

Mr.  Lincoln,  at  Carl's  request,  gave  her  up  to  him,  and  proudly 
he  led  her  away,  and  the  neglected  old  man  realized  the  fulfill- 
ment of  his  prediction  in  being  utterly  unable  to  reach  her  side 
because  of  the  admiring  throng  surrounding  her.  Later  in  the 
evening  he  saw  Carl  seat  her  at  the  piano,  and  he  pressed  his 
way  as  near  as  possible  to  witness  how  she  would  acquit  herself. 

She  played  several  difficult  selections  which  were  received  with 
favor,  then  there  was  great  fear  took  possession  of  Mr.  Lincoln's 
heart  as  he  heard  quite  a  number  expressing  a  desire  for  a  song. 
She  would  surely  fail,  he  thought,  if  she  attempted  to  comply 
with  the  request,  but  regret  was  useless  —  Carl  had  placed 
the  music  before  her  and  she  was  going  to  sing.  The  first 
notes  were  low  and  sweet,  as  those  of  some  startled  warbler, 
then  the  desire  of  her  heart  gave  confidence  to  her  voice,  and 
wave  after  wave  of  glorious  melody  filled  the  room.  Every 
sound  was  instantly  hushed.  Never  had  they  listened  to  any- 
thing like  it  before.  Mr.  Lincoln  lifted  his  head  a  moment  in 
amazement,  then  a  flood  of  feeling  mastered  him,  and  tears  of 
emotion  sprang  to  his  eyes  as  his  very  soul  reveled  in  the  clear, 
rich  tones  of  his  Heart's-ease. 

For  one  moment  after  the  song  had  ceased  an  impressive  silence 
lingered,  then  a  buzz  of  admiration  followed,  accompanied  with 
eager  demands  for  another  song,  but  Violet's  triumph  had  been 
complete,  and  the  expression  in  Carl's  eyes,  and  Mr.  Lincoln's 
glad  smile,  were  approval  enough,  as  she  rose  from  the  piano. 

Louise  Willett  looked  upon  the  fair  young  stranger  as  one 
would  gaze  upon  a  beautiful  painting,  with  a  momentary  feeling 
of  admiration  for  her  perfection,  then  turned  aside  indifferently ; 
but  soon  the  humiliating  knowledge  was  forced,  upon  her  that 
her  belle-ship  was  being  severely  tested  by  the  advent  of  the 
fresh  young  beauty,  and  an  added  pang  was  given  her  heart,  as 
Carl  Leslie  lingered  by  her  side  seemingly  oblivious  to  all  other 
presence.  Louise  did  not  love  Carl,  but  his  adoration  and  at- 
tention in  the  past  had  flattered  her  vanity  not  a  little,  and  the 
thought  had  suggested  itself  that  she  might  possibly  regain  her 
former  power  over  him — and  the  thought  was  not  unpleasant  to 
her — but  as  the    evening  wore    on  she   realized    her  mistake,    he 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  47 

was  beyond  the  power  of  her  fascinations.  Who  was  the  fair 
young  girl  with  the  wonderful  voice?  Where  had  Carl  met  her? 
All  conjectures  were  vague  and  unsatisfactory,  only  one  fact  was 
established  beyond  question,  and  that  was,  the  certainty  that 
Violet's  entree  into  society  had  been  a  triumph  and  a  phenome- 
nal success. 

How  proud  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Carl  were  of  her  reception  ;  but, 
oh,  how  miserable  Carl  was !  He  realized  with  the  keenest 
sense  of  self-reproach  that  he  had  no  right  to  remain  by  her 
side,  to  drink  in  the  rapture  of  her  glances — to  return  them  with 
all  the  worship  of  his  soul,  shining  from  his  expressive  eyes. 
How  bitter  the  thought  that  in  one  moment  of  impulsive  folly 
he  had  made  it  impossible  for  him  to  possess  this  rare,  winsome 
girl — the  guiding  star  of  his  existence.  He  remembered,  almost 
with  anger,  that  his  friend  Earnest  Treherne  had  said  that  he 
would  regret  his  rash  marriage,  and  that  even  in  a  like  expres- 
sion, the  distressed  girl  had  displayed  a  wisdom  greater  than  his 
own,  while  he  had  laughed  in  scorn  at  the  possibility  of  such  a 
thing.  Ever  since  their  arrival  in  New  York  he  had  persistently 
resisted  the  desire  to  seek  Violet,  and  forget  everything  in  the 
sunshine  of  her  smiles,  and  because  of  the  inborn  honor  and  in- 
tegrity of  his  noble  soul,  he  had  been  enabled  to  gain  the  mas- 
tery ;  but  now,  with  her  love-lit  eyes  looking  into  his,  her  voice 
so  low  and  sweet,  thrilling  every  chord  of  his  heart,  it  was  diffe- 
rent— oh,  so  dangerously,  so  temptingly  at  variance  with  his  de- 
termination— and  for  the  time,  regardless  of  future  remorse,  he 
reveled  in  the  wealth  of  her  love,  and  the  complete  yielding  to 
the  torrent  of  his  own. 

After  a  while  some  one  claimed  Violet's  attention,  and  Mr.  Lin- 
coln, thinking  that  Carl  had  monopolized  her  long  enough,  led  her 
away. 

Carl  turned  and  glanced  carelessly  over  the  room — all  were 
alike  to  him  now  that  Violet  had  left  his  side — and  with  a  start  of 
recognition  he  encountered  the  reproachful  glance  of  Louise  Wil- 
lett's  dark  eyes.  How  beautiful  she  was,  he  thought ;  and  then  he 
remembered  that  he  had  not  spoken  to  her  since  his  return.  Per- 
haps she  imagined  that  he  dared  not  trust  himself  in  her  presence ; 
he  decided  to  show  her,    as    well  as   others,   that  his  heart   was 


48  A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

proof  against  all  her  fascinations,  and  crossing  the  room  he  sought 
her  side. 

Louise  Willett  grew  radiant  as  she  watched  his  coming,  and  when 
he  had  reached  her  side,  she  held  out  her  jeweled  hand,  her  fair  face 
wreathed  with  bewitching  smiles. 

"  I  am  pleased  to  meet  you  again,  Mr.  Leslie,"  she  said. 

"Thank  you,  Mrs.  Willett,"  he  replied,  as  he  took  her  hand. 
"It  is  a  delightful  privilege  to  meet  old  friends  and  hear  such  ex. 
pressions  of  welcome  from  them." 

And  thus  they  drifted  together  again,  after  three  years  of  separa- 
tion, both  ignoring  the  past,  Carl  careless  and  indifferent,  Louise 
buoyant  with  enlivened  hope. 

After  conversing  pleasantly  for  awhile  she  expressed  herself  un- 
comfortable from  the  heat  of  the  room,  and  Carl  offered  her  his 
arm  and  they  sought  the  conservatory,  followed  by  many  expressive 
nods  and  smiles  from  those  who  had  known  and  remembered  their 
relationship  of  the  past. 

Violet  had  also  observed  Carl  seek  the  side  of  Louise,  and  as  he 
passed  from  the  room  with  her  upon  his  arm,  life  itself  seemed  to 
leave  her  for  a  moment,  but  the  pride  of  her  pure  soul  came  to  her 
rescue,  and  her  smile  was  quite  as  bewildering,  her  voice  low  and 
clear,  as  though  lier  heart  was  not  thobbing  and  quivering  with  the 
wildest  dismay. 

She  had  intended  to  tell  Carl  something  of  his  girl-wife  very  soon  ; 
but  now  she  could  not  do  so.  She  did  not  know  that  he  had  never 
loved  Louise ;  she  reasoned,  that  if  he  had  once  loved  the  beau- 
tiful young  widow  when  a  girl,  it  would  be  impossible  to  resist  her 
charms  now,  and  if  such  should  be  the  case,  she  must  be  silent  and 
as  one  dead.  He  had  given  her  liberty  and  all  her  present  enjoy- 
ment, and  never  would  she  become  a  barrier  to  his  happiness, 
although  her  own  heart  lay  crushed  and  mangled  at  his  feet.  All 
these  thoughts  were  floating  through  her  mind,  even  while  her  lips 
curved  with  rougish  smiles,  and  her  tongue  gave  back  rare  flashes 
of  wit  and  wisdom.  While  she  had  been  talking  she  had  noticed  a  tall 
dignified  gentleman  enter  the  room,  and  from  his  receptiofi  she  con- 
cluded that  he  was  a  tardy  arrival.  Soon  she  became  aware  of  the 
fact  that  his  eyes  were  rivited  upon  her  face,  in  seeming  open  admi- 
ration, and  she  changed  her  position  a  trifle  to  avoid  the  annoyance 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  49 

it  caused  her ;  but  he  was  not  to  be  disposed  of  so  easily.     He 
crossed  the  room,  and  stepping  up  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  side,  said : 

"  Glad  to  see  you,  Mr.  Lincoln  !  Your  trip  seems  to  have  im- 
proved your  health  wonderfully." 

"Thank  you,  thank  you,  Mr.  Vancouver,  I  am  enjoying  most 
remarkable  good  health — in  fact  I  do  not  feel  a  day  past  forty. 
Just  arrived,  did  you  ?  You  have  not  met  my  little  girl  ?  Allow 
me." 

He  touched  Violet's  arm  gently  and  drew  her  to  his  side. 

"Mr.  Vancouver,  Miss  Lincoln,"  And  they  were  chatting 
pleasantly  together. 

Violet  found  him  strangely  interesting,  while  he  acknowledged 
to  himself  that  if  he  had  known  the  rare  attraction  he  would  not 
have  been  so  late. 

Carl  returned  as  soon  as  he  could  courteously  leave  the  side  of 
Mrs.  Willett,  only  to  find  Violet  seemingly  absorbed  in  conversa- 
tion with  a  handsome,  dignified  gentlemen,  and  the  gentlemen  utterly 
oblivious  to  all  around  him  except  the  sparkling,  vivacious  face  be- 
fore him. 

Carl  pulled  at  his  mustache  savagely  and  wished  him  at  the  bot- 
tom of  the  Red  Sea  ;  but  then  he  decided  that  it  was  useless  to  get 
into  a  passion,  and  deeply  chagrined,  he  turned  to  Mr.  Lincoln  and 
engaged  him  in  conversation. 

Violet,  the  wicked  little  mischief,  comprehended  Carl's  feelings, 
and  enjoyed  his  discomfeiture.  She  was  determined  to  reward  him 
for  his  chat  with  the  young  widow,  and  she  lavished  her  smiles  on 
Mr.  Vancouver,  regardless  of  the  havoc  she  was  making  with  his 
heart.  After  awhile,  when  she  thought  she  had  punished  him 
sufficiently,  she  glanced  around  at  him,  and  said  carelessly  : 

"  Mr.  Leslie,  do  you  know  that  I  do  not  consider  you  very  much 
of  a  prophet.  You  said  that  I  would  not  like  New  York  society, 
because  of  its  reserve  and  lack  of  sociability,  I  am  perfectly  delight- 
ed with  it,  in  spite  of  my  prejudice." 

"  I  doubt  not  that  you  are  well  pleased.  Miss  Lincoln,  but  all  are 
not  awarded  the  flattering  reception  which  you  have  received  to- 
night," replied  Carl,  turning  toward  Violet. 

She  noticed  that  Carl  seemed  unacquainted  with  Mr.  Vancouver, 
and  after  introducing  them,  she  said : 
4 


50  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

"Indeed,  Mr.  Leslie  !  Well,  I  feel  very  grateful  if  I  have  been 
especially  favored.  This  evening  shall  ever  be  remembered  as  one 
of  the  most  delightful  of  my  life." 

"  May  I  not  hope  that  I  shall  be  remembered  also,  Miss  Lincoln?" 
said  Mr.  Vancouver,  eagerly. 

Violet  glancing  from  Carl's  dejected  countenance,  to  Mr.  Vancou- 
ver's flushed,  expectant  face,  the  spirit  of  retalliation  still  predomi- 
nating, 

"Certainly,  Mr.  Vancouver,"  she  said  archly,  "forming  your 
acquaintance  has  added  very  much  to  my  enjoyment." 

"  And  I  ?  "  questioned  Carl. 

"  Oh,  I  have  known  you  so  long  that  I  shall  not  remember  you 
at  all  in  connection  with  this  evening.  " 

Carl's  handsome  face  ^clouded,  and  an  expression  of  pain  came 
over  his  dark  eyes  at  Violet's  indifferent  words,  but  the  sight  of  his 
distress  caused  her  honest  heart  to  relent,  and  she  added  with  a 
thrill  of  tenderness  in  every  tone  : 

' '  I  reserve  a  special  place  in  my  heart  for  old  friends,  and  they 
shall  never  be  crowded  out  for  the  new,  however  pleasant  they  may 
be.  Why,  no  one  in  all  the  world  could  usurp  Uncle  Robert's 
place  in  my  affections  !  " 

"  Thanks,  Heart's-ease  !  It  is  no  use,  gentlemen,  I  have  the  first 
claim,  and  I  shall  be  terribly  tyranical  if  I  find  any  one  trying  to 
infringe  on  my  rights." 

"  I  am  glad  you  have  raised  the  danger-signal,  Mr.  Lincoln," 
said  Carl,  half  in  earnest,  and  also  not  a  little  amused.  "  I  see 
that  you  have  partaken  of  the  spirit  of  the  time — you  believe  in 
monopoly  regardless  of  its  destructive  results  to  others.  I  sincerely 
trust  that  you  will  not  convert  Miss  Violet  to  your  dangerous  heresy." 

"  Your  counsel  came  to^  late,  Mr.  Leslie.  You  should  have 
expressed  yourself  sooner,"  replied  Violet,  gleams  of  mischief 
sparkling  from  her   eyes. 

Although  Carl  did  not  appropriate  very  much  comfort  from 
Violet's  words,  yet  he  was  satisfied  with  the  tender  glance  from 
her  eye  and  the  love  cadence  of  her  voice,  and  grew  wonderfully 
buoyant. 

Mr.  Lincoln  perceived  that  Violet -was  becoming  somewhat  wea- 
ried, and  signified  his  intention  of  taking  their  leave.  Mr.  Van- 
couver, looking  his  regret,  bid  them  good-night  and  turned  away, 


A   IVAYSIBE   VIOLET.  51 

not  daring  to  ask  permission  to  call,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  extend 
an  invitation. 

Carl  met  them  at  the  foot  of  the  stairway,  and  offering  Violet  his 
arm  led  her  to  the  carriage,  every  pulse  thrilling  with  joy  because 
of  the  nearness  of  his  darling — his  pure  Violet.  He  bid  her  a  ten- 
der adieu,  promising  to  call  very  soon,  then  stood  watching  the 
carriage  until  it  was  lost  to  view.  He  could  not  return  to  the 
parlors  after  Violet  had  gone,  so  he  walked  away  thinking  of  her, 
and  '  how  near  and  yet  how  far  '  she  was  from  belonging  wholly 
to  him.  As  he  continued  to  dwell  upon  the  utter  impossibility 
of  his  claiming  her,  a  thought  suggested  itself  to  him,  which  was 
new  and  startling.  Perhaps  Dora  Markley  was  dead  ;  if  so,  he  was 
free.  And  just  now  he  would  have  given  ten  years  of  his  life 
to  be  free.  Impulsive  and  quick  to  decide,  he  was  soon  deter- 
mined to  go  to  Weston  and  enquire  into  the  matter.  And  still, 
a  great  dread  filled  his  soul.  If  he  should  find  her  alive  and 
destitute,  his  duty  was  very  plain.  If  she  desired  it,  he  must 
acknowledge  her  as  his  wife,  and  he  almost  came  to  the  conclusion, 
that  in  this  case  ignorance  was  bliss.  As  he  was,  he  could  at  least 
worship  Violet  at  a  distance,  with  no  one  to  molest  or  make 
afraid ;  but  he  knew  that  such  a  course  would  only  madden  him 
— she  must  be  all  the  world  to  him  or  nothing.  Honor  was  too 
powerful  a  characteristic  of  his  being  for  him  to  compromise  it 
in  any  way,  and  with  a  firm,  resolute  determination  he  settled 
the  question  with  himself — he  would  go  at  once  to  the  little  vil- 
lage and  seek  his  bride.  If  she  was  dead,  his  way  was  clear, 
if  not — he  dared  not  think  upon  the  alternative — that  way  led  to 
future  disappointment  and  bitter  anguish. 


CHAPTER  VII.— Carl's  Visit  to  Weston. 

Three  years  had  made  but  little  change  in  the  cottage  home  of 
Jane  Day.  Rulus  was  the  same  obstinate,  repulsive  being,  who 
so  persistently  persecuted  Dora  Markley  with  his  proposal  of 
marriage,  and  the  mother  had  become  more  soured  in  disposi- 
tion, if  such  a  thing  was  possible,  during  her  three  years  of  dis- 
appointment. 

Ever  since  the  hour  she  had  taken  the  little  baby  stranger  into 
her  home,  she  had  determined  that  in  time  she  should  become 
the  wife  of  her  son,  not  from  any  love  she  had  for  her,  but  be- 


52  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

cause  of  the  conviction  she  had  that  some  day  the  child  would  be  the 
possessor  of  wealth ;  and  on  account  of  her  plans,  Dora's  sudden 
disappearance  had  proved  the  bitterest  disappointment  of  her  life. 
They  had  sought  everywhere  imaginable  for  her,  but  she  seemed 
as  completely  lost  to  them  as  though  the  sod  covered  her. 

Rufus  Day's  greed  for  money  was  the  over-ruling  passion  of 
his  soul,  and  he  was  always  looking  about  him  to  see  how  he 
might  gain  his  desire,  without  any  labor  on  his  part.  It  mattered 
little  to  him  whether  the  result  was  reached  through  cunning, 
theft,  or  cruel  deception,  so  he  became  the  possessor  of  the  coveted 
wealth.  His  mother,  although  once  conscientious,  had,  by  asso- 
ciation with  vice,  become  equally  as  hardened  and  sinful  as  her 
son. 

Little  did  Carl  Leslie  realize  the  character  of  those  whom  he 
had  to  deal  with,  as  he  walked  slowly  along  the  path  past  the 
spring,  around  which  clustered  the  remembrance  of  an  event 
whose  influence  must  fashion  and  guide  his  life  through  all  the 
years  to  come,  then  on  up  to  the  door  of  the  cottage.  He 
knocked  tremblingly,  almost  expecting  to  see  the  face  of  his 
child-wife,  but  instead,  the  door  was  opened  by  the  resolute  hand 
of  Mrs.  Day,  who  bid  him  most  ungraciously  to  enter. 

"  Am  I  addressing  Mrs.  Day  ? "  Carl  asked  politely. 

"Yes,  sir,  that  is  my  name.  Won't  you  take  a  chair,"  Mrs. 
Day  replied. 

Carl  seated  himself,  then  glanced  across  the  room  at  the  surly 
face  of  Rufus,  before  speaking. 

Mrs.  Day  noticed  his  glance  of  enquiry,  and  said : 

"If  you  have  anything  to  say,  out  with  it.  This  is  my  son 
Rufus.     I  have  no  secrets  from  him." 

Carl  shuddered  as  he  remembered  that  it  was  from  this  beast 
of  a  man  he  had  saved  the  fair  young  girl,  and  for  the  moment 
he  could  not  find  it  in  his  heart  to  regret  the  course  he  had 
taken.  Death  would  have  been  preferable  to  life  with  such  a 
man,  and  he  did  not  wonder  that  she  had  hated  him  so  intensely. 

"  Mrs.  Day,  I  wish  to  ask  you  a  few  questions  concerning  a 
young  girl  who  was  living  with  you  some  three  years  ago.  Is 
Dora  Markley  still  here  ?"  Carl  said,_  every  word  falling  from  his 
lips  as  though  he  was  pronouncing  his  own  doom. 

Mrs.  Day  almost  sprang  from  her  chair,  when  Carl  spoke  the 
name  of  Dora  Markley,  while  Rufus  raised  his  head  with  a  sud- 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  53 

den  show  of  interest.  This  was  just  what  mey  had  been  expect- 
ing for  years.  It  had  been  an  undefinable  conviction  with  them 
that  some  time  a  wealthy  gentleman  would  call  and  enquire  for 
her,  but  they  had  hoped  by  that  time,  through  her  marriage 
with  the  son,  to  be  able  to  share  her  good  fortune.  Now  the 
desired  opportunity  had  presented  itself,  but  they  were  powerless 
to  profit  by  it — the  bird  had  defied  its  fetters  and  the  cage  was 
empty. 

"No,  sir,  Dora  is  not  here,"  replied  Mrs.  Day,  cautiously. 
"What  do  you  want  of  her?" 

"Is  she  alive,  or  dead?"  asked  Carl.  "  If  living,  do  you 
know  where  she  is  ?  " 

"Of  course  I  know  where  she  is,  but  what  do  you  want  of 
her?"  responded  Mrs.  Day,  nervously.  "If  you  are  after  a  girl 
to  work,  I  will  let  you  know,  Dora  don't  work  out." 

Rufus  gave  one  look  of  surprise  at  his  mother,  then  thinking 
that  she  understood  herself  perfectly,  he  resumed  his  expression 
and  attitude  of  stubborn  indifference. 

Carl's  heart  almost  lost  its  courage  as  he  listened  to  the  coarse, 
repulsive  creature,  and  thought  of  Dora  as  being  like  her. 

"  No,  Mrs.  Day,  I  am  not  looking  for  a  servant  girl,"  he  said, 
"  I  desire  to  see  Dora  Markley,  because  I  have  something  to  say 
to  her  that  will  be  to  her  advantage  to  hear." 

"Oh,  that  is  it,  is  it?"  and  Mrs.  Day's  eyes  sought  the  floor 
quickly,  to  conceal  the  sudden  gleam  of  eagerness  that  flashed 
from  them.      "Did  you  come  from  her  father?" 

"From  her  father?"  repeated  Carl  wonderingly.  "Certainly 
not.  Perhaps  you  are  not  aware  that  the  girl  was  married  some 
three  years  ago  ?  " 

"  Oh,  yes,  she  told  us  about  the  wedding  down  by  the  spring, 
but  we  did  not  believe  it.  You  see,  it  isn't  often  that  a  young 
man  marries  a  girl,  and  leaves  her  the  moment  the  ceremony  is 
performed,  and  stays  away  three  years — that  is  contrary  to  human 
nature." 

''  Well,  Mrs.  Day  it  was  a  bone  fide  wedding,  I  assure  you. 
I  am  well  acquainted  with  the  young  man.  He  started  for  Eu- 
rope immediately  after  Dora  Avas  made  his  wife,  and  has  but 
recently  returned.  He  desires  to  learn  something  of  her  through 
me.     Can  you  tell  me  where  I  may  find  her?" 


54  A    WAYS/BE    VIOLET. 

Mrs.  Day  knit  her  brow  into  a  pucker  of  disagreeable  wrinkles 
as  she  thought  what  was  the  best  course  to  pursue. 

"She  is  off  on  a  little  visit  just  now,  but  will  be  back  in  a 
few  days,"  she  said.  ''  I  expect  she  will  be  powerful  glad  to 
hear  from  her  husband,  even  if  he  has  treated  her  so  shabbily. 
You  call  again  in  a  week  or  so  and  she  will  be  at  home." 

Carl  could  not  reply.  His  whole  soul  revolted  against  an  in- 
terview with  his  wife.  He  began  to  feel  assured  that  he  would 
find  Dora  as  rude  and  uncouthed  as  her  aunt.  Oh,  that  he, had 
listened  to  the  advice  of  Earnest  Treherne  !  But  regrets  were 
vain  and  useless.  He  must  meet  the  ordeal,  and  abide  by  the 
result.     He  must  reap  that  which  he  had  so  carelessly  sov/n. 

"I  will  call  again  soon,  Mrs.  Day,"  he  said,  as  he  rose  to 
take  his  leave. 

As  the  sound  of  his  footsteps  ceased  to  echo  back  from  the 
frozen    path,   Rufus    burst  out  into  a  coarse,   disagreeable  laugh. 

"Why,  mother,  what  in  the  name  of  common  sense  was  you 
driving  at?"  he  said,  with  a  knowing  wink  of  his  eye.  "I 
knew  that  you  was  up  to  something,  so  I  held  my  tongue  for 
fear  of  spoiling  it." 

"Well  enough  that  you  did,  Rufus.  You  always  was  a  sorry 
bungler  at  talk.  I  see  through  that  young  man,  if  he  does  think 
himself  so  wonderfully  smart.  He  is  the  one  himself  who  mar- 
ried Dora,  but  just  where  she  is  beats  my  time.  Why,  I  made 
sure  she  was  with  him." 

"  I  thought  that  you  knew  all  about  her,  mother,  and  was 
going  to  have  her  here  in  a  week  or  so,"  said  Rufus,  with  an- 
other loud  laugh.  "What  was  your  idea  for  saying  that?  What 
are  you  up  to  now  ?  " 

"  Well,  you  see,  my  boy,  I  had  not  the  heart  to  disappoint 
the  anxious  young  husband,  and  if  Dora  does  not  return  before 
he  does,  I  shall  have  some  one  here  who  will  answer  the  same 
purpose.  If  we  keep  our  eyes  open  we  may  get  some  money 
out  of  it  after  all.  That  young  man  will  pay  a  good  round  sum 
before  he  will  accept^  the  Dora  M^rkley  I  shall  show  him,  for  a 
wife." 

"Ah,  I  see!  You  are  a  deep  one,,  mother,"  said  Rufus,  ad- 
miringly.      "Who  have  you  in  your  mind  to  personate  Dora?" 

Mrs.  Day  looked  into  the  face  of  her  son  a  moment,  almost 
disgusted  at  his  lack  of  penetration. 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  55 

"  Now,  Rufus,  that  is  just  like  you  !  Can  you  not  think  of 
some  girl  of  you  acquaintance,  who,  because  of  her  affection  for 
you,  would  be  willing  to  oblige  you  in  this  matter  ?  I  can,  if  you 
are  too  modest.  " 

"  Why,  mother,  you  don't  mean  Kate  Carter,  do  you  ?  She  is 
only  about  half-witted." 

"  Don't  you  be  so  sure,  Rufus.  She  has  more  sense  than  you 
give  her  credit  for.  She  is  more  innocent  than  foolish.  Don't 
you  think  that  you  could  persuade  her  to  assume  the  name  of 
Dora  Markley  for  the  occasion  ?  You  might  promise  to  marry 
her  after  you  get  some  money  from  the  young  man." 

Rufus  looked  at  his  mother  in  complete  amazement  at  her  pro- 
position ;  although  he  did  not  for  a  moment  question  the  fitness 
of  her  suggestion,  he  wondered  at  the  inexhaustible  resource  of 
her  evil  mind.  If  there  was  any  trait  in  his  character  at  all 
praise-worthy  it  was  his  profound  respect  for  his  mother's  judg- 
ment and  forethought.  "Why,  I  suppose  so,"  he  stammered. 
•'I  guess  that  she  would  do  about  as  I  would  say  in  the  affair. 
Do  you  really  think  the  young  man  will  plank  down,  mother?" 

"  Of  course  he  will,  Rufus!"  replied  Mrs.  Day,  decidedly. 
"He  would  not  take  that  Carter  girl  away  with  him  for  the  best 
house  and  lot  in  Weston.  Never  you  fear.  You  get  the  girl 
to  agree  to  help  us,  and  I  will  manage  the  rest  of  the  business." 

"Yes,  mother,  but  Kate  don't  look  any  more  like  Dora  did 
than  a  sunflower  resembles  a  rose.  He  will  detect  the  fraud  at 
once." 

"Not  a  bit  of  it,  Rufus.  Dora  was  but  fifteen  years  old  when 
he  saw  her.  Three  years  works  a  great  change  in  a  girl  of  that 
age.  I  doubt  if  we  would  knovv  her  ourselves  if  we  were  to  meet 
her  now." 

Rufus  did  not  so  express  himself,  but  he  thought  quite  diffe- 
rent from  his  mother — he  believed  that  he  would  recognize  Dora 
among  ten  thousand.  If  there  was  any  one  in  the  world  whom 
he  loved  equally  with  himself  it  was  the  fair,  winsome  child  who 
had  grown  up  to  girlhood  by  his  side. 

"All  right,  mother,  we  will  try  it  anyhow!"  he  said  rubbing 
his  hands  together  gleefully.  "It  promises  something  exciting 
at  least,  but  I  would  freely  give  all  we  shall  make  out  of  the 
venture,    to  know  where  Dora  is." 


56  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

CHAPTER  VIII.—"  In  the  Gloaming." 
Carl  Leslie  returned  to  the  city,  glad  of  even  a  few  days  of 
respite  from  that  which  he  so  much  dreaded.  He  was  deter- 
mined not  to  seek  Violet  under  any  consideration,  because  each 
meeting  with  her  made  him  less  strong  to  resist  her  sweet  power 
of  fascination ;  and,  like  wavering  humanity,  he  betrayed  his  lack 
of  will  by  calling  upon  her  the  evening  of  his  return  from 
Weston. 

Violet  met  him  at  the  door  of  the  parlor,  her  fair  face  agkiw 
with  joy,  her  eyes  luminous  with  love,  and  her  crimson  lips  smil- 
ing him  a  welcome.  Carl  had  thought  to  be  very  reserved,  but 
it  was  not  possible  to  withstand  the  enchantment  of  the  fair 
young  girl,  and  he  submitted  himself  unreservedly  to  the  mes- 
merism of  her  presence,  promising  himself  to  be  more  courageous 
in  the  future. 

Somehow  Carl  could  not  trust  himself  to  talk  with  Violet  this 
evening.  Every  moment  but  impressed  him  more  and  more  with 
the  magnitude  of  his  loss,  and  the  depth  of  his  suffering ;  and 
because  of  a  desire  for  safety  as  well  as  a  longing  to  listen  agam 
to  her  thrilling  voice,  he  begged  for  some  music  and  led  her  to 
the  piano.  Violet  did  not  know  that  he  had  paid  a  visit  to 
Weston,  but  intuitively  she  realized  that  every  faculty  of  his  being 
was  striving  to  cast  off  the  silken  chains  of  bondage  which  her 
love  had  woven  around  him,  and  because  of  her  right  to  his 
loyalty,  and  feeling  that  the  act  was  not  unwomanly,  she  rejoiced 
in  the  knowledge  that  he  was  unable  to  give  her  up.  A  freak 
of  perverseness  prompted  her  in  choice  of  song,  and  with  all  the 
pathos  of  her  glorious  voice  she  began  to  sing : 

"In  the  gloaming,  oh,  my  darling,  when  the  lights  are  dim  and  low; 
And  the  quiet  shadows  falling,  softly  come,  and  softly  go; 
When  the  winds  are  sobbing  faintly,  with  a  gentle  unknown  woe, 
Will  you  think  of  me  and  love  me,  as  you  did  once  long  ago  ? 

"In  the  gloaming,  oh,  my  darling,  think  not  bitterly  of  me! 

Though  I  passed  away  in  silence,  left  you  lonely,  set  you  free, 

For  my  heart  was  crushed  with  longing,  what  had  been  could  never  be, 

It  was  best  to  leave  you  thus  dear,  best  for  you  and  best  for  me." 

When  the  last  words  had  merged  jnto  an  impressive  silence 
Violet  turned  and  glanced  at  Carl,  and  a  sudden  rush  of  dismay 
thrilled  her  heart-strings,  as  she  observed  the  expression  of  acute 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  6T 

anguish  in  his  dark  eyes,  and  how  the  great  veins  stood  out 
upon  his  broad  brow,  so  suggestive  of  his  keen  suffering. 

"Carl!"  she  said  soltly. 

He  raised  his  head  and  reached  out  his  arms  dispairingly  to- 
ward her,  while  all  the  torture  of  a  life-time  found  utterance  in 
his  low,  dispirited  voice. 

"Oh,  Violet,  Violet!  How  can  I  give  you  up?  I  have  been 
so  weak,  so  unmanly,  but  God  help  me.  I  could  not  resist  your 
sweet  self !  I  ought  to  have  fled  your  presence  the  first  moment 
that  I  knew  my  own  heart,  but  I  was  not  brave  enough.  Now, 
I  can  only  ask  that  you  forgive  and  think  not  bitterly  of  me. 
Your  song  but  echos  the  sad  refrain  of  my  heart — never  was 
there  heart  so  crushed  with  longing  as  mine.     But,  Violet,  darling, 

"  It  was  best  to  leave  you  thus  dear,  best  for  you  and  best  for  me!  " 

Carl  bowed  his  head  again  in  pitiful  distress,  not  daring  to  read 
the  look  of  contempt  that  he  felt  must  shine  forth  from  her 
truthful,  honest  eyes. 

"Carl,  it  was  all  my  fault,"  Violet  faltered,  as  she  turned  and 
laid  her  hand  upon  his  arm.  "I  did  not  hide  my  love  from 
you.  Forgive,  Carl,  forgive  me  !  It  is  right — it  does  not  com- 
promise your  honor  when  you  express  your  love  for  me." 

"  Stop,  Violet !  I  cannot  bear  it !  "  said  Carl,  hoarsely,  his  face 
pale  as  death.  "You  did  not  know — you  cannot  understand. 
God  only  knows  the  strait  I  am  in  !  Humiliating  as  it  is,  I  must 
confess  to  you,  that  I  am  a  married  man.  Don't  despise  me, 
Violet,  if  you  can  help  it  ?  Let  me  tell  you  all  while  I  have 
the  courage.  Three  years  ago,  just  as  I  was  on  the  eve  of 
departure  for  Europe,  I,  with  my  iriend,  Earnest  Treherne,  a 
young  minister,  were  passing  through  the  village  of  Weston. 
A  wreck  of  freight  cars  detained  us  several  hours,  and  to  pass 
away  the  time,  we  wandered  aimlessly  outside  the  village  limits, 
until  we  were  attracted  by  the  pitiful  sobbings  of  a  young  girl. 
"We  questioned  her  and  found  out  that  although  but  a  child  in 
years,  her  aunt,  with  whom  she  lived,  was  going  to  force  her 
into  a  hateful  marriage,  and  it  seemed  that  nothing  could  save 
her.  That  very  day  was  to  have  been  my  wedding  day,  but  at 
the  last  moment,  she  whom  I  trusted,  dismissed  me  for  a  wealthier 
suitor ;  and  with  the  feeling  of  injustice  burning  in  my  heart,  I 
came  in  the  way  of   the  distressed    girl,     and  without  a  thought 


58  A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

of  after  consequences,  I  was  married  to  her  by  my  friend,  the 
minister.  I  left  within  an  hour  and  have  never  seen  her  since. 
I  saved  her  from  the  companionship  of  a  coarse,  repulsive  man; 
but  oh,  at  what  a  fearful  cost  to  myself!  Now,  Violet,  you  know 
the  worst — I  have  withheld  nothing  from  you.  No,  not  the  worst. 
I  had  almost  hoped  that  death  had  canceled  that  vow,  but  it  is 
not  so.  I  have  visited  Weston,  and  my  wife  still  lives  with  her 
Aunt." 

"  What !  "  cried  Violet,  breathlessly.      "  Your  wife  at  Weston?  " 

"  Yes,  Violet.  I  shall  go  down  next  week  and  see  what  terms 
I  can  make  with  her — I  can  never  live  with  her.  It  would  be 
a  living  death  after  association  with  my  pure  Violet,  even  if  she 
was  an  angel." 

Carl  did  not  notice  anything  unusual  in  Violet's  manner — he 
was  too  much  occupied  with  his  own  distress.  He  saw  only  par- 
donable curiosity  in  her  abrupt  expression,  while  Violet  fairly 
grew  desperate  at  the  thought  that  some  one  was  imposing  on 
Carl.  She  was  going  to  confess  all  but  a  moment  before,  but; 
it  was  best  now  to  wait  and  see  what  the  development  would  be. 
She  well  knew  that  nothing  low  and  scheming  was  beyond  the  in- 
vention of  Mrs.  Day  and  her  son,  but  she  could  not  imagine  who 
they  would  present  as  Dora  Markley. 

At  last  Carl  broke  the  silence,  his  voice  burdened  with  intense 
emotion. 

"  Violet,  what  have  you  to  say?  Is  it  banishment  forever  from 
your  presence,  or  can  you  forgive  and  pity  one  who  intended 
you  no  wrong — one  whose  worst  fault  was  weakness,  not  willful 
dishonor  ?  " 

Violet  lifted  her  pure  face  and  looked  searchingly  into  the  dark 
eyes  before  her,  then  a  smile  of  exquisite  tenderness  played  around 
her  rosy  lips,  and  the  joy  of  possession  made  rich  her  young 
heart. 

"Carl,  I  love  you!"  she  said  in  low,  tender  tones.  "Where 
I  have  given  my  love,  there  can  be  no  law  of  banishment,  no 
lack  of  faith,  no  thought  of  wrong.  I  can  only  see  your  inten- 
tions— not  the  results.  Come  to  me  after  your  visit  to  Weston, 
and  remember  that  'it  is  always  darkest  just  before  day.'" 

Carl  turned  his  head  away  with  a  '  gesture  of  utter  abandon, 
feeling  sad,  weary  and  completely  heart-broken.     He  saw  no  hope 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  59 

for  the  future — no  light  in  the  darkness,  no  silver  lining  to  his 
storm-cloud. 

"Violet,  darling,  your  precious  words  only  make  the  heaven 
I  have  lost  more  desirable — more  lovely  !  Many  a  man  has  sacri- 
ficed honor,  integrity,  and  even  life  itself,  to  claim  an  avowal 
of  love  infinitely  less  pure  than  that  which  you  so  freely  confess, 
and  I  am  powerless  to  accept  it.  Violet,  I  have  not  so  com- 
pletely lost  my  manhood,  as  ta  wish  you  bound  to  one  who  is 
already  fettered  with  the  galling  chains  of  a  relentless  bondage. 
You  are  free,  free,  although  your  freedom  is  my  slavery — your 
release  is  my  captivity.  Let  come  what  may,  my  lips  shall  pre- 
serve my  uprightness,  my  honor,  inviolate,  and  until  fate  smile 
upon  our  mutual  woe,  you  shall  be  only  my  friend.  I  shall  not 
again  forget  the  gulf  that  so  fatally  separates  us  but,  oh,  how 
much  easier  for  me  to  be  true  to  myself,  now  that  I  possess  the 
knowledge  of  your  sustaining  love !  God  grant  that  you  may 
not  grow  weary  of  waiting  on  the  caprice  of  fate." 

"Carl,  never  express  a  doubt  of  me  again,"  said  Violet,  earn- 
estly. "  I  am  not  Louise  Willett.  I  shall  trust  and  look  for 
your  release,  until  you  bid  me  wait  no  longer — even  if  it  be  unto 
death." 

"  I  do  not  doubt  you,  Violet — forgive  me.  You  have  heard 
of  my  infatuation,  my  blind  folly,  when  Mrs.  Willett  was  Louise 
Dupont  ?  I  did  not  love  her,  my  heart  had  never  been  aroused, 
and  I  imagined  fascination  was  love.  You  taught  me  the  sweet, 
bewildering  lesson  and  made  plain  my  mistake  of  the  past.  Now 
darling,  sing  over  once  more  those  beautiful  words — the  language 
of  my  desolate  heart — and  when  we  meet  again,  I  shall  be  only 
Carl,  the  true  friend,  not  Carl,  the  ardent  lover." 

Violet  rose  to  her  feet,  her  mind  strangely  confused  at  the 
turn  of  affairs,  and  like  one  in  a  dream,  seated  herself  at  the 
piano.  She  let  her  white  fingers  stray  carelessly  over  the  keys 
a  few  moments  to  gain  time  to  steady  her  trembling  voice,  while 
Carl  stood  close  by  her  side,  his  dark  eyes  drinking  in  the  rap- 
ture of  her  glances,  and  his  very  soul  feasting  on  her  lovely  face, 
as  one  dwells  upon  the  face  within  the  casket,  expecting  soon 
that  the  lid  will  be  closed  and  the  contents  hid  forever. 

"  I  cannot,  Carl  ! "  Violet  cried,  turning  toward  him,  and 
reaching  up  her  hands  beseechingly.       "  When  I  sang  it  before, 


60  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

I  thought  you  all  mine.  Now  it  means  so  much.  Every  word 
speaks  of  a  separation — of  a  bitter  mistake.  I  was  so  confident, 
so  brave  but  a  few  moments  ago,  and  now  a  nameless  dread  fills 
my  heart — a  fear  of  the  future." 

Carl  drew  the  beautiful  head  back  against  him,  and  looked 
longingly  down  into  the  grieved  face. 

"  If  it  distresses  you  so  much,  Violet,  I  will  not  ask  it,"  he 
said  tenderly.  "I  had  imagined, that  I  would  have  more  courage 
if  I  might  remember  those  beautiful  words,  but  it  does  not  mat- 
ter." 

"  I  will  try,  Carl.     You  shall  not  be  denied  your  request." 

Violet's  sweet  voice  grew  tender  and  resolute,  although  the 
color  had  left  her  face,  even  to  her  lips,  as  she  drew  her  hands 
away  from  his  clinging  grasp,  and  turned  back  to  the  keys,  and 
began  again  to  sing,  "  In  the  Gloaming,"  but  not  as  she  had  sang 
it  before.  Every  word  now  breathed  the  language  of  a  desolate, 
defrauded  heart — of  a  sadly  wrecked  life.  Somehow  she  began 
to  realize  that  in  utter  defiance  of  her  claim,  Carl  was  to  be  taken 
from  her — ;that  in  truth  she  was  to  be  a  widowed  bride,  and  trem- 
blingly, tearfully,  the  last  verse  fell  from  her  lips. 

"  In  the  gloaming,  oh,  my  darling,  think  not  bitterly  of  me; 

Though  I  passed  away  in  silence,  left  you  lonely,  set  you  free. 

For  my  heart  was  crushed  with  longing,  what  had  been  could  never  be, 

It  was  best  to  leave  you  thus  dear,  best  for  you,  and  best  for  me." 

The  small,  helpless  hands  fell  away  from  the  keys,  and  the  beau- 
tiful head  drooped  until  her  pale  face  was  hid  from  Carl's  sight; 
then  he  knelt  by  her  side,  and  taking  both  her  hands  in  his,  pressed 
them  close  to  his  heart,  and  earnestly,  solemnly  he  repeated, 

"  It  was  best  to  leave  you  thus  dear,  best  for  you,  and  best  for  me." 

God  help  us,  Violet !  It  is  a  bitter,  bitter  trial.  Good-bye,  dar- 
ling,  good-bye." 

He  kissed  the  hands  he  held,  tenderly,  passionately^  then  rose  to 
his  feet,  and  as  he  passed  from  the  room,  a  sob  fell  on  his  ear,  so 
like  those  he  would  never  forget,  causing  him  to  hurry  his  footsteps, 
for  fear  his  heart  would  fail  him,  and  as  in  the  past  he  would  turn 
back  and  offer  his  sympathy  and  comfort. 


A   WAYSIDE  VIOLET.  61 

CHAPTER  IX.— A  Pair  of   Rogues. 

One  week  of  restless,  feverish  anxiety  had  passed,  and  Mrs. 
Day's  cottage  contained  three  eager  souls,  awaiting  the  coming  of 
Carl  Leslie. 

Rufus  Day  had  been  in  the  village  the  evening  before,  and  had 
witnessed  the  arrival  of  Carl,  and  now,  everything  was  in  readiness 
to  practice  their  cruel  deception.  A  rather  pretty  young  girl  stood 
before  the  fire,  her  hands  clasped  idly  before  her,  and  her  gaze  fixed 
on  the  glowing  coals. 

She  was  slight  in  form,  a  clear,  creamy  complexion,  dark  eyes, 
and  dark,  wavy  hair,  not  an  unpleasant  picture  to  look  upon,  but  a 
close  observes  could  detect  a  lack  of  will-power,  and  the  expression 
about  her  lips  betrayed  how  susceptible  she  would  be  to  influence, 
whether  for  good  or  evil. 

She  continued  to  gaze  a  long  time  into  the  fire,  then  turning 
abruptly  toward  Rufus,  she  said  with  a  little  gesture  of  impatience  : 

"Rufus,  are  you  sure  that  I  can  depend  upon  your  promise? 
When  I  have  served  you  faithfully  you  will  not  leave  me  ?  " 

"Of  course  not,  Kate!  I  will  stick  to  my  promise,  never  you 
fear.  You  help  me  to  handle  the  young  man's  tin  and  you  shall 
share  it  with  me.  Are  you  sure  Kate,  that  you  can  play  your 
part  ?  If  you  should  make  a  mistake  it  would  throw  us  in  a  pretty 
muddle."  » 

The  slender  form  drooped  a  trifle,  and  the  full  red  lips  trembled 
perceptibly  as  though  she  disliked  the  part  she  had  promised  to  per- 
form. 

"Yes,  Rufus,  I  think  I  shall  make  no  mistakes,"  she  said 
slowly.  "  I  have  gone  over  the  ground  too  often  for  me  to  stumble 
in  the  dark." 

Mrs.  Day  had  been  standing  at  the  window  watching  down  the 
path,  and  at  this  moment  she  turned  excitedly  toward  the  young 
couple  and  said : 

"  Rufus,  the  young  man  is  coming  !  I  think  that  you  had  bet- 
ter leave  the  room — Kate  will  do  better  without  than  with  you. 
Now,  my  girl,  don't  get  excited,  but  keep  your  wits  about  you,  and 
all  will  be  well." 

A  resolute  knock  on  the  door  interrupted  her,  and  as  Rufus 
passed  out  of  the  room,  she  admitted  Carl  Leslie. 

Carl  gave  one  searching  glance  at  the  slender,  drooping  figure 
by  the  fire,  and  as  he  did  so  the  color  left  his  face,  and  all  his  cour- 


62  A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

age  fled  from  his  heart.  He  did  not  doubt,  even  for  a  moment  that 
this  was  the  young  girl  whom  he  had  befriended,  and  nothing  but  a 
great  pity  for  her  filled  his  soul.  She  had  not  asked  the  sacrifice  of 
him — she  had  only  accepted  his  proposition.  Come  what  would, 
he  dare  not  blame  his  girl-bride,  she  had  not  forced  herself  upon 
him,  he  would  at  least  meet  her  kindly. 

Mrs.  Day  watched  Carl's  face,  noting  every  change  of  expression, 
every  gleam  of  piety  that  flashed  from  his  dark  eyes,  and  she  drew 
a  deep  sigh  of  relief  that  he  had  accepted  the  situation  so  readily. 

"You  wanted  to  see  Dora  Markley,"  she  said.    "This  is  the  girl." 

Kate  raised  her  head,  and  glanced  at  Carl,  and  she  could  but 
admire  his  handsome  face,  and  noble  bearing,  even  while  her  heart 
was  full  of  deception  toward  him. 

Carl  read  only  embarrassment  and  timidity  in  that  hasly  glance, 
and  desiring  to  make  his  visit  as  brief  and  concise  as  possible,  he 
said : 

"  Dora,  are  you  the  young  girl  who  was  married  some  three 
years  ago  down  by  the  spring  ?  " 

"  Why,  yes  sir!  Don't  you  remember  me  ?"  she  replied,  with  a 
show  of  bashful  earnestness.  "  I  would  have  known  you  anywhere. 
You  have  not  changed  at  all,  but  I  have  grown  taller,  is  the  reason 
you  did  not  know  me." 

Carl  believing  that  he  was  recognized,  thought  it  would  be  folly 
to  deny  that  he  was  her  husband,  and  he  determined  to  face  the  case 
fairly,  and  if  possible  come  to  satisfactory  terms. 

"  Well,  Dora,  if  you  remember  me,  you  also  recollect  that  I  said 
in  all  probability  we  would  never  meet  again,  and  that  only  in  name 
would  you  ever  be  my  bride,  but  circumstances  have  brought  me 
back  to  New  York,  and  not  wishing  to  do  anything  dishonorable,  I 
have  come  to  make  you  a  proposition." 

"  Oh,  sir,  I  am  very  sorry,  but  I  cannot  go  with  you  !  I  must 
not  leave  Aunt  Jane,"  Kate  exclaimed  in  well-feigned  excitement. 
"She  is  growing  old,  and  I  must  take  care  of  her.  She  was  kind 
to  me  when  I  was  a  helpless  child." 

Carl's  heart  grew,  light  as  he  listened  to  Kate.  She  had  but 
anticipated  his  desire  in  the  matter,  and. because  of  her  decided 
expression,  he  saw  an  easy  way  out  of  the  disagreeable  entanglement. 

"  Dora,  I  had  no  thought  of  taking  you  from  Mrs.  Day,"  he 
said.      "  The  proposition  I  have  to  make  is  this:     I  will  agree  to 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  63 

pay  you  one  thousand  dollars  a  year  for  your  support,  providing 
that  you  do  not  assume  the  name  of  Leslie,  and  do  not  annoy  me  in 
any  way.     Is  it  a  bargain  ?  " 

A  thrill  of  exultation  came  to  Mrs.  Day's  heart,  as  she  listened 
to  the  munificent  offer  of  Carl,  and  also  because  of  the  knowledge 
of  his  name.  She  had  not  dared  to  ask  him,  and  she  did  not  know 
how  to  work  successfully  without  it.  Fate  had  favored  her,  and 
unconsciously  Carl  had  given  her  the  information  that  she  so  much 
desired.  Kate  glanced  covertly  at  Mrs.  Day,  who  slyly  signified 
her  approval,  then  she  said  : 

"Yes,  sir,  I  agree  to  all  that  you  propose.  I  will  never  bother 
you  in  any  way.  I  am  only  Dora  Markley,  a  plain  country  girl, 
and  I  do  not  wish  to  change  my  name.  I  would  not  accept  the 
money,  but  I  have  been  a  burden  on  Aunt  Jane  so  long,  that  if.I  can 
help  her  in  her  old  age  I  would  be  glad  to  do  so." 

Carl  was  delighted  that  he  had  gotten  off  no  easily,  when  he  had 
expected  considerable  opposition  and  trouble. 

"  It  is  all  right,  Dora.  So  long  as  you  do  not  seek  to  incommode 
me  in  any  way,  you  shall  have  your  thousand  dollars  a  year.  I  will 
send  you  a  check  for  the  amount  within  the  week.  Now,  that  is  all, 
I  believe  ?  " 

"  Not  so  fast,  Mr.  Leslie,"  said  Mrs.  Day,  turning  toward  Carl. 
"  I  guess  Dora  would  like  to  have  that  contract  in  black  and  white. 
Of  course,  we  believe  you  to  be  strictly  honest  in  your  intentions, 
but  something  might  happen  when  it  would  be  safer  to  have  the 
paper.     Isn't  that  so,  Dora?  " 

"  Yes,  Aunt  Jane.  You  know  what  is  best  in  the  matter,''  repli- 
ed Kate. 

Carl  knit  his  brow  in  vexation.  He  did  not  like  the  idea  of  leav- 
ing any  writing,  but  he  saw  no  way  out  of  the  dilemma. 

"  Very  well,  Mrs.  Day,"  he  said.  •'  Give  me  paper  and  pen  and 
I  will  make  you  safe." 

Mrs.  Day  furnished  him  with  the  requisites  for  writing,  and  after 
a  moment  Carl  read  aloud  what  he  had  written. 

"  I  hereby  agree  to  pay  Dora  Markley  the  sum  of  one  thousand 
dollars  annually,  providing  she  does  not  claim  the  name  of  Leslie, 
or  molest  me  in  any  way.  Otherwise,  this  contract  is  null  and 
void.  Carl  Leslie." 

"  Does  that  suit  you,  Dora?  " 

"Yes,  sir,  I  am  satisfied  with  it,"  replied  Kate. 


64  •        A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

"You  understand,  Dora,  that  I  regret  this  little  unpleasantness 
equally  with  yourself,  but  I  see  no  other  way  to  arrange  it  satisfac- 
torily. A  divorce  would  cause  a  great  deal  of  unnecessary  gossip, 
and  would  be  very  humiliating  to  both." 

Carl  wanted  to  ask  her  if  Rufus  Day  had  ever  annoyed  her  after 
her  marriage,  but  he  thought  it  best  not  to  do  so  in  the  presence  of 
Mrs.  Day,  and  he  added  : 

"  Good-bye,  Dora.  I  trust  that  nothing  will  transpire  to  give  you 
any  uneasiness.  I  shall  not  come  again.  Everything  seems  to  be 
pleasantly  arranged." 

"  Good-bye,  sir.  I  am  sorry  that  your  kindness  to  me  has  caused 
you  so  much  trouble,  and  I  am  truly  grateful  for  it  all,"  Kate  said, 
with  apparent  emotion. 

Ca-rl  bowed  to  Mrs.  Day  and  Kate,  then  left  the  room,  little 
dreaming  of  the  deception  that  had  been  so  successfully  practiced 
upon  him,  but  on  the  contrary,  feeling  a  sense  of  safety  that  he  had 
not  known  for  many  days,  while  unconsciously  his  feet  were  press- 
ing the  very  verge  of  a  mighty  precipice.  He  had  no  conception 
of  the  intrigue  and  cunning  that  lay  hid  beneath  the  placid  brow  of 
Mrs.  Day,  nor  the  power  of  execution  now  dormant  under  the 
rough  exterior  of  her  son  Rufus. 

In  a  moment  after  Carl's  departure  Rufus  came  out  from  the 
kitchen,  a  smile  on  his  face  and  a  look  of  extreme  satisfaction  in  his 
eyes. 

"  Bravo,  Ka,te  !  What  a  little  jewel  you  are!  Why,  out  there 
listening,  I  almost  came  to  the  conclusion  that  we  were  the  ones 
being  hoodwinked,  and  you  was  beyond  a  doubt  Dora  Markley.  I 
never  heard  anything  to  equal  it  in  my  life." 

Kate's  pretty  face  lit  up  with  a  rosy  glow  of  delight  at  the  words 
of  praise  from  Rufus  Day.  They  were  strangely  powerful  to  move 
the  inmost  feelings  of  her  soul.  In  some  unaccountable  manner 
she  had  given  the  love  of  her  whole  heart  to  him,  and  because  of  her 
infatuation,  she  was  his  willing  slave,  ready  to  do  his  bidding,  even 
to  the  destruction  of  her  own  soul. 

"Rufus,  I  have  studied  out  a  thing  or  two,"  said  Mrs.  Day, 
with  a  wise  shake  of  her  head.  "  Mr.  Leslie  is  making  arrange- 
ments to  marry  again,  and  thinks  to  buy  our  silence  with  a  thousand 
dollars.  I  guess  he  don't  know  the  material  we  are  made  of— ah^ 
my  boy  ?  " 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  65 

"  You  are  right,  mother.  He  will  find  out  his  mistake,"  replied 
Rufus,  laughingly.  "  I  shall  be  obliged  to  take  a  trip  to  New  York, 
and  see  how  the  land  lies.  You  see,  Kate,  if  we  work  together  and 
keep  our  eyes  open,  we  shall  be  able  to  set  up  in  grand  style,  and 
astonish  the  upper  crust  of  Weston." 

Kate  blushed  at  the  direct  allusion  to  the  desire  of  her  heart,  but 
did  not  reply. 

"You  played  your  part  quite  creditably,  Kate,"  said  Mrs.  Day, 
"but  this  is  only  a  stepping-stone  to  success.  If  Mr.  Leslie  is  rich, 
so  will  we  be  also.  Yes,  Rufus,  I  think  that  you  ought  to  go  to  the 
city  for  a  few  days.  I  do  not  think  it  would  be  right  for  the  gentle- 
man to  marry  again  and  his  young  wife  living  here  with  us!" 

"  Ha,  ha,  mother !  We  are  tco  much  for  him  !  Kate,  you  hold 
yourself  in  readiness  for  anything  that  may  present  itself,  and  I  will 
find  out  all  I  can  about  the  young  man's  habits  and  intentions." 

Kate  put  on  her  shawl  and  hood  and  started  for  home,  little  think- 
ing that  treachery  far  worse  than  that  she  had  shown  Carl  Leslie, 
was  in  store  for  her — that  she  had  been  only  the  "cat's  paw  to 
draw  the  chestnuts  from  the  fire,"  and  that  in  no  way  did  they 
intend  to  keep  faith  with  her. 


CHAPTER  X. — A  Shadow  from  the  Past. 

Violet  Lincoln  carried  herself  bravely  through  the  days  of  doubt 
and  misgivings  intervening  between  Carl's  disclosure  and  his  re- 
turn from  Weston. 

Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  detect  anything  amiss.  She  was  just  as 
animated  and  gay,  as  tender  and  kind,  as  of  old,  but  when  alone 
her  heart  was  restless  and  strangely  fearful.  What  would  be  the 
result  of  Carl's  second  visit  to  her  childhood  home  ?  Must  he  be 
lost  to  her  forever  ?  Surely  Mrs.  Day  and  Rufus  would  not  dare 
to  deceive  him  so  boldly. 

One  afternoon  she  grew  uneasy  beyond  endurance.  She  had 
tried  her  music,  had  spent  an  hour  with  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  had 
visited  Mrs.  Burnett's  room  ;  but  all  in  vain.  At  last  she  decided 
to  take  a  walk,  and  see  if  she  could  not  throw  off  her  gloomy 
thoughts. 

For  some  time  a  bent,  slovenly  figure  of  a  man  had  been  lin- 
gering near  the  door  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  residence,  and  as  the 
graceful  form  of  Violet  came  down  the  steps,  his  keen  dark  eyes 


66  •        A    WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

brightened  under  his  slouch  hat,    betraying  his   purpose   in  wait- 
ing, and  quickening  his  footsteps  he  followed  her. 

Fate  seemed  to  favor  the  man  who  was  waiting  for  a  sight  of 
the  young  lady,  for  she  usually  went  out  in  her  carriage.  She 
walked  on  quite  a  distance,  little  thinking  that  a  relentless  plot- 
ting demon  was  so  closely  following  her  footsteps. 

Some  bright  fancy  work  in  a  window  attracted  her  attention,  and 
she  stepped  inside  the  store  to  purchase  it.  As  she  returned  to 
the  pavement  a  slight  child-form  sprang  to  her  side,  and  a  sweet 
voice,  all  excitement  and  exquisite  joy,  cried  out : 

''Oh,  Violet!     Oh!     Oh!" 

Violet  halted  abruptly  and  let  her  eyes  rest  an  instant  on  the 
bright,   upturned  face,   then  caught  the  child  up  in  her  arms. 

"  Edith,  darling!     Can  it  be  possible?"  she  said. 

"Yes,  Violet,  I  am  little  Edith.  Let  me  kiss  you  again  to 
make  sure  it  is  my  own  dear  Violet.  But  no,  it  cannot  be  Vio- 
let," and  the  little  arms  fell  away  from  around  Violet's  neck, 
and  all  the  glow  left  the  sweet  face.  "I  saw  her  last  standing 
in  the  iire  of  the  burning  vessel,  and  then  we  watched  it  sink 
into  the  ocean.  But  how  did  you  know  that  my  name  was 
Edith  ?  Oh,  I  thought  sure — you  are  Violet,  in  spite  of  all  the 
fire  !  " 

The  clinging  arms  again  encircled  Violet's  neck,  and  half- 
doubting,  half-sure,  Edith  laid  her  flushed  cheek  close  to  the  fair 
face  she  loved  so  well. 

"  Yes,  Edith,  I  am  Violet.  I  was  saved  at  the  last  moment 
from  the  vessel,"  she  said  tenderly.  "I  thought  that  you  and 
Mrs.  Lynne  were  lost.     Oh,   this  is  a  glad,  glad    surprise !  " 

"Well,  I  guess  that  was  what  Papa  thought  too.  You  see, 
Papa,  that  you  are  not  the  gladest  one  in  all  the  world,  after 
all,"  said  Edith,  turning  to  a  gentleman  who  was  standing  close 
by,   looking  on  in  amazement. 

Violet  followed  the  glance  of  the  child  and  met  the  brown 
eyes  of  Mr.  Vancouver  fixed  upon  her  in  questioning  wonder. 

He  stepped  forward,  and  lifting  his  hat  courteously,  said : 

"  Good  afternoon.  Miss  Lincoln,  Edith  seems  to  have  found 
an  old  friend  in  you  ?  " 

"  Why,  Papa  !  We  were  together  bn  the  vessel  when  it  caught 
fire,  and  Violet  made  the    men  take  me    because  there  was    not 


A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET.  67 

room  for  both,  and  she  stayed  alone  with  the  Captain.  If  it  had 
not  been  for  her  they  would  have  taken  grandma  from  me.  Oh, 
Violet,  I  have  cried  many  and  many  a  time  because  I  thought  you 
was  dead !  How — what  happened  ?  Please  tell  me  how  you  es- 
caped from  the  fire  ?  " 

"  Mr.  Vancouver,  I  was  with  Edith  as  she  has  told  you," 
said  Violet,  turning  to  the  gentleman,  ''and  we  have  never  met 
since  the  lifeboat,  containing  Mrs.  Lynne  and  the  child,  pulled 
away  from  the  side  of  the  doomed  vessel,  until  this  precious  mo- 
ment. We  each  thought  the  other  dead.  If  you  do  not  object 
I  will  take  her  home  with  me,  and  we  shall  have  a  mutual  ex- 
planation of  our  escape.     I  desire  very  much  to  hear  her  story." 

"  Oh,  yes.  Papa,  do  let  me  go  !  You  know  that  you  have  to 
go  to  Brownell's,  and  you  can  call  for  me  this  evening.  I'm 
going,  Papa  !  " 

Edith  caught  hold  of  Violet's  hand  and  began  eagerly  to  pull 
her  away. 

Mr.  Vancouver  joined  Violet  in  a  merry  laugh  at  the  aptness 
of  the  child,  and  her  strategy  to  gain  his  consent. 

"  I  cannot  blame  Edith,"  he  said.  "  I  rather  admire  her  taste, 
Miss  Lincoln,  and  if  agreeable  I  will  call  for  her  this  evening. 
I  can  assure  you  that  I  would  not  have  one  moment  of  peace 
until  she  has  heard  the  story  of  your  escape.  Besides,  I  desire  to 
thank  you  for  saving  the  life  of  my  darling,  as  I  cannot  do  here 
upon  the  street." 

"You  have  nothing  to  thank  me  for,  Mr.  Vancouver,  but  I 
would  be  delighted  with  a  call  from  you  this  evening.  Come, 
Edith,   shall  we  go  ?  " 

And  hand  in  hand,  Violet  and  Edith  turned  away,  followed 
by  the  steady  gaze  of  two  men.  The  eyes  of  one  filled  with 
a  tender  admiring  expression,  and  those  of  the  other  flooded  with 
triumph  and  excitement,  and  as  the  bent  form  of  the  man  who 
had  been  loitering  near  Violet's  home  went  hurriedly  away  in  the 
opposite  direction  to  that  taken  by  the  delighted  girls,  he  tnut. 
tered : 

"I  cannot  be  mistaken.  It  is  she  and  none  other.  No  one 
ever  loses  anything  by  watching  the  corners.  This  is  a  rare  find 
for  me." 


68  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

Violet  and  Edith  spent  the  remainder  of  the  afternoon  in  relat- 
ing the  way  and  manner  in  which  each  had  escaped  the  de- 
struction threatened  by  both  fire  and  water.  Edith  renewed  her 
acquaintance  with  her  old  friend,  Mr.  Lincoln,  bringing  many  a 
hearty  laugh  from  his  lips  because  of  her  quaint  humor  and 
bright  wit.  Then  quite  earlj  in  the  evening  Mr.  Vancouver  came 
in,  and  the  story  had  to  be  repeated,  and  when  Violet  would 
speak  lightly  of  her  service  toward  the  child,  Edith  would  inter- 
rupt her,  sometimes  with  tears,  but  always  with  an  exaggerated 
account  of  the  affair,  very  much  to  Violet's  credit,  until  she 
blushed  with  dismay  at  the  misrepresentation,  and  Mr.  Vancou- 
ver's elaborate  thanks.  The  chance  meeting  with  Edith  had 
driven  away,  for  the  time,  all  unpleasant  thoughts,  and  she  was 
exquisitely  happy,  and  after  they  had  taken  their  leave,  she  ac- 
knowledged to  herself  that  the  gentleman  was  wonderfully  enter- 
taining, and  Edith  just  the  dearest  child  in  all  the  world. 

The  meeting  again  of  those  two,  so  rudely  separated,  was 
seemingly  but  a  trifling  matter,  but  in  the  days  of  crushing  sorrow 
to  come,  it  was  to  materially  assist  in  unraveling  a  strange  tan- 
gled thread  of  mystery — just  as  our  Heavenly  Father  intends  our 
misguided  lives  to  be  straightened  and  brightened  by  instruments 
and  means  entirely  unknown  to  us. 

After  A'^iolet  had  gone  to  her  room  and  was  preparing  to  retire, 
Mrs.  Burnett  tapped  at  the  door,  and  upon  it  being  opened, 
handed  her  a  letter,  saying  : 

"Miss  Violet,  this  letter  was  left  for  you  this  evening,  but  as 
you  had  company,  I  thought  that  it  could  wait.  I  have  no  doubt 
but  it  is  another  call  for  charity,  as  he  was  a  distressed  looking 
old  man  who  left  it." 

Violet  received  the  letter  and  tossed  it  carelessly  upon  the  ta- 
ble, without  the  least  curiosity  as  to  its  contents. 

"Why  did  you  not  give  him  something  and  save  me  the  trou- 
ble, Mrs.  Burnett  ?"  she  said  pleasantly. 

"You  are  the  Lady  Bountiful,  Miss  Violet,  not  I,"  replied 
Mrs.   Burnett,  laughingly,  as  she  turned  from  the  door. 

When  Violet  had  gotten  through  with  the  services  of  her  maid 
she  dismissed  her  and  sat  down  a  few  moments  before  retiring, 
to  think  over  the  incidents  of  the  day,  and  to  wonder  what  Carl 
was  doing. 


A   WAYSIDE  VIOLET.  69 

She  sat  some  time  in  musing,  then  her  eyes  fell  on  the  neg- 
lected letter,  and  indifferently  she  took  it  up  and  opened  it. 
The  careless  expression  lingered  a  moment,  then  changed  to  a 
look  of  absolute  terror  and  dismay.     It  read  thus  : 

"  My  Dear  Child — After  all  these  years  of  patient,  ceaseless 
search  I  have  found  my  own  precious  daughter.  It  seems  almost 
impossible,  but  I  cannot  be  mistaken.  You  are  the  perfect  image 
of  your  mother,  else  I  might  have  passed  you  by  in  your  gran- 
deur. I  cannot  understand  your  position  in  the  home  of  wealth, 
but  will  eagerly  wait  an  explanation.  It  is  not  best  that  I  should 
come  to  you,  but  I  shall  be  waiting  for  you  at  the  corner  of 
Broadway  and  Fourteenth  street,  to  morrow  at  2  P.  M.  Do  not 
disappoint  your  old  father,  whose  heart  aches  for  a  word  with 
his  child.  Raymond  Meredith." 

Every  drop  of  blood  left  Violet's  sweet  face,  while  she  read 
and  re-read  the  startling  contents  of  the  letter.  She  had  thought 
that  nothing  could  give  her  more  pleasure  than  to  find  her  fa- 
ther, but  now  that  he  was  within  her  reach  her  heart  rebelled 
against  his  claim  upon  her.  Could  the  one  who  had  left  the 
letter  be  her  father  ?  Then  she  remembered  that  Mrs.  Burnett 
had  said  that  he  was  distressed  looking.  What  if  he  was  not  a 
gentleman  ?  Must  she  leave  her  beautiful  home,  and  dear  Uncle 
Robert,  and  go  with  him  into  a  life  of  poverty  ?  She  did  not 
doubt  but  that  she  was  his  child — had  he  not  signed  himself 
Raymond,  and  the  name  was  not  a  common  one  ?  Should  she 
keep  the  appointment  that  he  had  made?  Yes,  she  must  see 
him  and  satisfy  herself — after  that  she  would  think  of  the  future. 
What  would  Carl  think  of  the  matter?  Would  he  still  love  hex 
even  if  she  was  forced  to  own  a  vagabond  father  ?  Oh,  how 
the  troublesome  thoughts  flashed  through  her  agitated  brain, 
keeping  sleep  from  her  pillow  many  hours  of  the  night!  And 
the  quiet,  sad  face  at  the  break  fast- table  drew  many  anxious 
glances  and  questions  from  Mr.  Lincoln,  only  to  be  answered  with 
a  pitiful  attempt  at  a  smile  from  Violet. 

She  spent  the  hours  intervening  between  breakfast  and  the 
dreaded  time  of  meeting  with  the  author  of  her  disquietude,  in 
torturing  eagerness  and  reluctant  dismay.  Why  must  the  placid 
current  of  her  life-stream  be  so  suddenly  changed  into  a  turbu- 
lent wave,  covering  but  partially  the  foam-crowned  rocks  ?     Why 


70  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

must  life  possess  its  mysteries,  its  doubts,  its  fears  ?  No  answer 
came  to  soothe  her  wildly  throbbing  heart,  but  the  oft  repeated 
thought,  vague  and  misty,  that  it  was  God's  way,  and  that 
somehow,    He  leadeth  her, 

"  In  pastures  green  ?     Not  always  ;  sometimes  He, 
Who  knoweth  best,  in  kindness  leadeth  me, 
In  weary  ways,  where  heavy  shadows  be, 
And  by  still  waters?     No,  not  always  so; 
Ofllimes  the  heavy  tempests  round  me  blow, 
And  o'er  my  soul  the  waves  and  billows  go." 

Prompt  at  the  appointed  hour  and  place,  Violet  found  a  bent, 
ragged  man  awaiting  her  coming,  and  as  he  stepped  eagerly  for- 
ward she  scanned  his  face  with  questioning  interest,  but  the  untidy, 
heavy  beard,  covered  the  greater  portion  of  his  countenance,  and 
the  glance  from  his  eyes  brought  no  thrill  of  recognition  to  her 
soul. 

"You  were  kind  to  come,   my  child,"  he  said. 

Violet  shrank  back  from  his  out-stretched  hand,  a  sickening 
sensation  taking  possession  of  her.  Was  it  possible  that  this 
repulsive,  hardened  vagabond  was  the  father  whom  she  had  so 
much  wished  for  ? 

"Are  you  my  father,  in  truth?"  she  asked  in  low,  quivering 
tones.  "  How  do  you  know  that  I  am  the  one  you  were  seek- 
ing?" 

"Why,  bless  your  sweet  face!  You  are  so  much  like  your 
mother  was  at  your  age,"  he  said  with  a  great  show  of  fatherly 
feeling.  "  Did  you  not  live  for  a  long  time  with  Jane  Day,  near 
the  village  of  Weston,  and  was  you  not  called  Dora  Markley  at 
that  time?" 

"Oh,  yes,  yes!  But  why  did  you  not  claim  me  years  ago, 
before  —  " 

The  dainty  form  drooped,  and  the  low,  pained  voice  ceased 
abruptly,  as  she  buried  her  face  in  her  hands. 

"  Now,  child,  don't  get  worried.  I  know  that  I  am  a  sorry 
looking  father  for  so  elegant  a  yourg  lady  to  acknowledge,  but 
no  one  need  know  our  relationship  but  ourselves,"  he  said,  con- 
solingly, every  word  falling  like  ice  on  her  soul,  driving  out  all 
the  warmth  and  glow.  "You  seem  to  have  fallen  into  a  cosy 
nest  somehow,  and  low  as  I  am,  I  am  not  dog  enough  to  drag 
you  down  to  my  level.      All  I  want   is,   that  you  help  your  old 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  71 

father  upon  his  feet  again,  and  if  you  do  that,  you  can  go  on 
living  just  as  you  are  now,  and  no  one  the  wiser.  What  do  you 
say?" 

She  turned  her  soulful  eyes  and  looked  into  his  face.  Could 
it  be  that  the  same  blood  coursed  through  their  veins — that  this 
man  was  the  author  of  her  existence?  She  could  not  call  him 
father.  She  could  not  even  look  at  him  without  a  thrill  of  dis- 
gust. 

"  Have  you  no  reply  to  make  to  my  offer?"  he  said   at  last. 

"Yes,  I  accept  your  proposition,"  she  said,  faintly,  realizing 
that  anything  was  preferable  to  companionship  with  this  man. 
"How  much  money  do  you  want,  and  where  shall  I  send  it?" 

"Oh,  only  a  trifle  child — five  hundred  will  do  at  present. 
You  can  hand  that  amount  to  me  this  time  to-morrow,  and  at 
this  place — be  sure  that  you  come  yourself.  I  am  a  little  under 
the  weather  now,  child,  but  when  I  was  young,  I  was  a  gentle- 
man and  no  mistake.  They  told  me  down  at  Weston  that  you 
was  married  and  gone,  but  1  see  they  were  mistaken  in  part. 
Now  I  have  just  a  little  word  of  caution  to  give  you — don't  try 
the  marriage  dodge  on  me,  or  I  shall  ventilate  our  whole  trans- 
action, and  the  world  shall  know  that  you  are  old  Ray  Mere- 
dith's own  flesh  and  blood,  the  daughter  of  a  gambler,  not  the 
stunning  Miss  Violet  Lincoln.  That  is  all,  I  guess.  You  will  be 
sure  and  be  on  hand   to-morrow?" 

"  I  will  be  here,"  Violet  replied,  and  without  another  word  the 
sorely  tried  girl  turned  away  and  sought  her  home. 


CHAPTER  XI.— Love's   Regrets. 

The  following  day  Violet  fulfilled  her  promise,  by  meeting  the  one 
whom  she  had  been  thus  led  to  believe  was  her  father,  and  giving 
him  the  sum  of  money  he  had  named;  but  she  would  not  stop  to  con- 
verse with  him.  Her  pure  face  paled,  her  lovely  eyes  were  filled 
with  an  expression  of  shame,  and  a  shiver  of  repulsion  passed  over 
her  slender  form,  as  her  hand  came  in  contact  with  the  one  ex- 
tended toward  her.  But  the  disagreeable  task  had  been  per- 
formed, and  her  safety  had  been  bought  for  the  time,  and  with 
a  slight  lifting  of  the  weight  that  was  pressing  down  her  very 
soul,  she  turned  toward  home.     She  had  retraced  her  way  but  a 


T2  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

short  distance  when  Carl  Leslie  overtook  her  and  walked  by  her 
side. 

Oh,  how  he  did  love  the  sweet,  violet  eyed  girl !  Every  pulse 
of  his  being  responded  to  her  glance.  Every  thought  that  welled 
up  from  his  heart  was  enriched  with  love — a  burning,  consum- 
ing love — that  was  far  more  painful  than  sweet,  under  the  cir- 
cumstances. She  loved  him,  yet  he  dared  not  take  her  to  his 
heart — it  would  be  unmanly  to  even  kiss  her  perfect  crimson-lips. 
Oh,  cruel,  cruel  fate !  They  entered  the  hall  and  passed  into 
the  parlor,  and  as  they  seated  themselves,  Violet  turned  to  Carl 
with  a  sad  attempt  at  gayety. 

"Mr.  Carl  Leslie,  where  have  you  been  hiding  so  long?  Give 
an  account  of  yourself?"  she  said. 

But  Carl's  eyes  of  love  were  not  to  be  deceived,  so  readily. 
He  noted  with  distress  how  pale  her  face  had  become,  and  what 
a  sad,  pleading  light  shone  from  her  eyes. 

"Darling,  I  have  been  trying  to  accustom  myself  to  living 
without  the  light  of  my  star — to  accept  the  darkness  that  has 
come  to  my  life — but  it  is  like  a  man  stricken  with  sudden 
blindness,  who  has  feasted  his  eyes  upon  all  the  beauty  and 
grandeur  of  nature.  It  is  taking  all  from  me  that  I  hold  dear 
in  this  life,  leaving  me  empty-hearted,  to  grope  in  the  shadows 
of  despair." 

Violet  looked  up  into  the  handsome  face  of  her  lover,  so  ear- 
nest in  his  love,  so  thrilling  in  his  regret,  and  realized  that  she 
had  never  loved  him  so  much  as  at  this  moment. 

"Hush,  Carl,"  she  said  solemnly.  "There  are  worse  things 
in  this  life  to  contend  with  than  those  you  speak  of — life  itself 
is  a  strange  panorama  of  changes  and  mystery.  We  cannot 
always  cling  to  sweet  illusions — the  awakening  must  come  some- 
time." Then,  as  though  to  divert  his  mind  from  herself,  she 
added.      "You  have  been  to  Weston?     Tell  me  the  result?" 

"  Yes,  Violet,  I  have  been  to  Weston.  I  have  seen  and 
talked  with  Dora  Markley — my  wife,  and  if  I  had  never  known 
you  in  all  your  regal  beauty,  I  could  not  live  with  this  low-born 
girl.  I  would  rather  die  than  acknowledge  relationship  with  so 
low  a  class  !  " 

Violet  shrank  from  his  emphatic  denunciation  of  the  lower 
class — it  seemed  so  personal  just  now.     Who  could  reach  a  lower 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  73 

•strata  in  society  than  that  in  which  her  father  walked  ?  If  he 
knew  all  the  crushing  secret  of  her  origin  he  would  shun  her  as 
he  would  a  pestilence.  She  could  never  confess  to  him  now, 
that  it  was  her  hand  that  had  rested  in  his — her  lips  that  had 
so  willingly  given  a  caress,  sealing  her  heart  forever  against  the 
invasion  of  any  other  love  ;  she  could  only  share  his  silent  suf- 
fering, never  daring  to  hope  for  a  lifting  of  the  shadow,  never 
betraying  a  daughter's  shame. 

"What  is  it,  Violet?"  Carl  said  tenderly.  "You  look  so 
white  and  distressed.  I  would  to  God,  that  I  could  bear  it  all 
— that  I  could  suffer  for  both." 

"It  is  nothing  Carl.  I  will  be  more  brave  in  the  future," 
Violet  said,  with  an  effort  at  control,  pitiful  to  see.  "  You  saw 
and  talked  with  Dora  Markley,  what  was  she  like  ?  Did  she 
resemble  the  young  girl  whom  you  married?" 

"Violet,  I  do  not  remember  but  very  little  about  the  child  I 
made  my  wife.  I  do  not  think  that  I  would  even  recognize  her 
again;  but  it  would  not  be  a  difficult  task  to  imagine  her,  after 
three  years,  developed  into  the  young  girl  I  met  at  the  cottage. 
She  was  tall,  dark  eyed,  fair,  and  pretty,  but  her  low  birth  cov- 
ered her  like  a  mantle." 

"Are  you  sure,  Carl,  that  she  is  Dora  Markley?"  questioned 
Tiolet. 

"Yes,  Violet,  too  sure.     Who  else  could  she  be?" 

Aye,  who  else  could  she  be  ?  Violet  wondered.  She  knew  full 
well  that  it  was  the  work  of  Mrs.  Day  and  Rufus;  but  who  they 
had  selected  to  act  the  part  of  the  child-bride  ? 

"What  terms  did  you  make  with  them,  Carl?" 

"They  are  ne\er  to  molest  me  in  any  way  whatever.  Dora 
'is  to  retain  her  maiden  name,  and  I  am  to  give  her  one  thous- 
and dollars  annually,  so  long  as  she  keeps  faith  with  me." 

"Preposterous,  Carl!  They  dare  not  do  so  bold  an  act,"  ex- 
claimed Violet,  unguardedly.  "I  mean,  they  are  a  little  extra- 
vagant in  their  demands,  are  they  not  ?  " 

"Oh,  no,  Violet,  I  would  rather  pay  twice  the  sum  than  be 
forced  to  live  with  her,  or  bear  the  publicity  of  a  divorce,"  he 
replied  quickly. 

What  a  strange  tangle  their  lives  were  assuming.  Carl  was 
paying  one  thousand  dollars  to  an  imposter,  to  keep  his  marriage 


74  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

a  secret  from  the  world,  while  Violet  had  given  five  hundred  ta 
buy  the  silence  of  her  father.  Oh,  that  she  might  lay  her  head 
upon  the  breast  of  Carl,  and  confess  that  she  was  his  own  true 
wife,  and  crown  both  hearts  with  the  contentment  of  love  !  But 
it  was  too  late.  The  vagabond  father  was  a  barrier  of  shame 
and  disgrace  that  she  was  powerless  to  remove.  "God  pity 
them  both  ! 

'For  of  all  sad  words  of  tongue  or  pen,   the  saddest  are  these: 

It  might  have  been  ! '  " 

"  Carl,"  she  said  at  last,  in  quivering,  beseeching  tones,  "Oar 
lives  are  strargely  knit  together,  but  somehow,  fate,  in  a  freakish 
moment  has  dropped  a  stitch,  and  in  failing  to  take  it  up,  the 
rent  in  the  web  is  growing  wider  every  moment,  and  not  even 
the  honest  love  of  both  can  repair  the  damage.  Oh,  Carl,  Carl! 
must  I  permit  you  to  go  out  from  my  life?     Must  I  give  you  up?" 

Violet  reached  forth  her  hands  to  Carl,  in  tender  entreaty  and 
passionate  hopelessness.  He  started  to  take  her  in  his  arms,  but 
with  a  mighty  struggle,  he  controlled  himself,  and  only  clasped 
her  white,  trembling  hands  in  his. 

"No,  darling,  never!  You  are  more  to  me  as  you  are  this 
this  moment — unattainable  as  Heaven — than  all  else  in  this  world  ! 
I  would  rather  claim  my  pure  Violet  as  my  friend,  than  possess 
the  love  of  the  fairest  woman  on  earth.  Circumstances,  bitter 
and  cruel  as  death,  separate  us  as  lovers,  but  we  can  clasp  hands 
as  friends.  No  other  love  shall  come  into  my  existence.  My 
heart  is  rich  in  the  presence  of  your  image,  although  my  arms 
are  empty,  and  my  life  barren  and  aimless.  You  are  mine  in 
spirit,  Violet,  all  mine  !  " 

As  Carl's  hot,  impetuous  words  fell  on  her  ear,  Violet  bowed  her 
head  upon  his  hands,  her  eyes  overflowing  with  glad  tears,  and 
her  desolate  heart,  for  the  moment,  flooded  with  delight,  because 
of  his  love  for  her.  Come  what  might  in  the  future,  she  realized 
that  no  earthly  power  could  deprive  her  of  that  rich  blessings, 
Carl  had  declared  that  she  belonged  to  him,  and  it  was  so. 

"  Carl,  surely  Heaven  will  interpose,  and  remove  every  barrier 
to  a  love  like  ours,"  she  said  softly.  "We  will  not  be  discour- 
aged but  trust  that  in  time  all  will  be  well."  Then,  with  a  sud- 
den change  of  tone  she  exclaimed:  "'Mrs.  Willett  called  a  few 
days  ago.     I  think  she  has  the  sweetest  face  I  ever  looked  upon,. 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  75 

and  in  spite  of  Carl  Leslie,  I  am  sure  we  shall  be  fast  friends. 
I  wonder  that  you  did  not  love  her,  Carl.  It  seems  impossible 
to  withhold  honest  admiration,  even  if  one  might  have  cause  for 
the  least  bit  of  jealousy.  I  would  not  be  surprised  if  she  still 
loved  you,  although  she  treated  you  badly.  I  could  not  dislike 
her  even  if  she  did — there  is  something  so  indiscribably  attrac- 
tive about  her." 

"You  have  nothing  to  fear  from  Louise  Willett,  Violet,"  said 
Carl,  earnestly.  "All  the  worship  of  my  soul  is  freely  given  to 
you,  and  nothing  can  recall  it.  Earnest  Treherne  said  that  he 
believed  her  caprice  on  the  eve  of  our  marriage,  was  God's  Pro- 
vidence, and  I  think  that  he  was  prophetic  in  his  assertion.  My 
heart  had  never  been  touched  by  the  dart  of  Cupid,  until  I  met 
my  fate  in  you;  and,  if  I  had  married  Louise,  time  would  have 
undeceived  me,   when  it  would  have  been  too  late." 

"Where  is  Earnest  Treherne,  Carl?"  asked  Violet, 

"  I  do  not  know,  Violet.  He  was  with  me  in  Europe,  but 
he  did  not  return  home  at  the  time  I  did.  He  has  fallen  heir 
to  quite  a  large  estate,  and  I  should  not  wonder  if  he  would 
leave  the  ministry.  He  is  the  strangest  mixture  of  spiritual  wis- 
dom, and  worldly  craving,  I  ever  saw — just  good  enough  to  be 
an  example  for  us  wild  boys,  and  has  a  sufficient  amount  of  hu- 
man nature  still  clinging  around  him  to  make  him  a  jolly  fellow 
for  a  companion.  You  ought  to  meet  him,  Violet.  I  am  sure 
that  you  would  like  him." 

Violet  smiled  as  she  thought  how  surprised  Carl  would  be  if 
she  should  tell  him  that  she  had  met  Earnest  Treherne,  and  from 
what  she  could  remember,  that  she  did  not  like  him  at  all.  She 
recalled  with  a  shudder  his  reluctance  to  perform  the  marriage 
ceremony,  and  how  stern  his  voice  grew  when  he  had  repeated, 
"  What  God  hath  joined  together,  let  not  man  put  asunder." 
And  she  was  permitting  her  own  father  to  come  between  her 
and  the  one  she  had  promised  to  'love,  honor  and  cherish,'  so 
long  as  life  would  last.  Was  she  acting  wisely  ?  Ought  she  not 
to  tell  him  all,  let  the  result  be  what  it  might  ?  But  it  might 
be  banishment  from  his  heart,  it  might  be  loathing  and  contempt 
for  her  deception  and  her  origin.  She  could  not  risk  his  deci- 
sion.    She  dare  not  confess,   even  if  it  was  right. 

"  Is  Mr.  Treherne  married,   Carl  ?  "  she  asked. 

"No,  Violet,  so  far  as  I  know  he  is  heart-whole." 


76  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

"Well,  we  will  let  him  have  Louise  Willett,  won't  we,  Carl?" 
Violet  said  archly. 

"Oh,  Violet!  What  a  wild  fancy.  Louise  Willett  the  wife 
of  Earnest  Treherne !  "  and  Carl  laughed  merrily  at  the  absurd- 
ity of  the  suggestion.  "I  would  as  soon  think  of  you  marrying 
Mr.  Vancouver.  By  the  way,  he  seemed  wonderfully  interested 
in  a  certain  sweet  singer  on  the  evening  of  the  party  at  Travers. 
How  do  you  like  him,  Violet?" 

"  Oh,  he  is  just  splendid!  Why,  Carl,  he  has  spent  the  even- 
ing here  since  then  with  his  daughter.  Is  it  not  strange  that  his 
child  and  I,  were  together  on  the  vessel  which  took  fire  in  mid- 
ocean  ?  I  met  them  on  the  street  a  few  days  ago,  and  Edith 
knew  me  at  once.  I  never  met  a  stranger  who  seemed  so  near 
to  me  as  Mr.  Vancouver,  but  I  suppose  it  is  because  he  is 
Edith's  father." 

"Take  care,  darling!  He  is  spoken  of  as  extremely  fascina- 
ting, and  I  fear  I  shall  betray  my  selfishness  if  you  make  any 
more  such  assertions,"  said  Carl,  half-jestingly  and  half-earnestly. 

"For  shame,  Carl!"  and  two  white  hands  stole  into  his,  and 
a  pair  of  violet  eyes  were  raised  to  his  face,  filled  with  a  tender, 
loving  glow.  "To  love  once  with  me,  is  forever.  Mr.  Van- 
couver could  only  be  my  friend,  even  if  a  closer  relationship  was 
desired  by  him." 

"  Well,  Violet,  it  seems  that  I  am  favored  no  more  than  he, 
in  that  particular.  I  can  only  be  your  friend,"  and  a  thrill  of 
regret  lingered  along  every  tone. 

Just  at  this  moment  the  door  opened,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  entered 
the  room. 

"Excuse  me,  Heart's-ease,  I  did  not  know  that  you  had  com- 
pany. Good  evening,  Carl !  I  do  not  see  much  of  you  of  late. 
New  York  is  very  gay  at  present,  eh,  my  boy  ?  What  do  you 
say,  Violet,  to  hearing  Patti  this  evening?" 

"Oh,  Uncle  Robert,  that  would  be  so  nice!  I  have  never 
listened  to   Patti,"  exclaimed  Violet,  eagerly. 

"Pooh,  Violet!  I  would  not  give  one  of  your  sweet  songs  for  a 
complete  Opera  of  hers.     Carl,   you  will  join  us,  will  you  not  ?  " 

Carl  looked  toward  Violet  questioningly — he  would  be  glad  to 
meet  them  there  if  she  desired  it. 

"Oh,  yes,  Carl!     Do  please  go,"  she  said. 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  77 

"Thank  you,  Mr.  Lincoln.  If  nothing  interferes,  I  will  be 
pleased  to  occupy  a  chair  in  your  box.  Now,  I  have  tarried  so 
much  longer   than    I  intended,   I    must — " 

"All  right,  my  boy,  I  shall  expect  you!  Good  night!"  and 
Mr.  Lincoln  very  discreetly  withdrew  from  the  room  with  all  pos- 
sible haste. 

Carl  turned  to  Violet,  his  face  suddenly  clouded,  and  his  eyes 
saddened  with  thought. 

"Violet,  I  dislike  so  much  to  say  goodbye.  I  am  always 
fearing  that  something  will  take  you  from  me,  and  that  it  will  be 
good-bye,  forever.  I  know  the  thought  is  exceedingly  foolish. 
God  will  take  of  my  darling,  so  long  as  He  has  denied  me  that 
privilege." 

Violet  looked  up  with  a  quick  brightening  of  her  lovely  eyes. 
Yes,  God  would  take  care  of  her !  How  these  words  had  power 
to  stir  her  soul  to  its  utmost  depths,  ever  since  Carl  has  uttered 
them  by  the  bubbling  spring  in  the  woodland. 

"  We  will  not  say  good  bye,  Carl.  It  shall  be  au  re  voir  until 
this  evening." 

And  Violet  held  out  her  hand,  forcing  a  smile  to  her  lips  for 
Carl's  sake.  Then  after  he  had  passed  from  the  room,  she  stood 
silent  as  a  piece  of  marble  statuary,  just  where  he  had  left  her, 
thinking,  thinking,  always  thinking  now.  No  sweet  song  uncon- 
sciously rippled  from  her  lips,  no  silvery  laugh  echoed  through 
the  lofty  rooms — only  a  low,  grieved  voice,  a  sad,  wistful  smile, 
and  a  slow,  reluctant  step,  were  left  to  the  beautiful,  young  girl. 


CHAPTER  XII.— A  Jealous  Freak. 

Several  weeks  have  passed — weeks  replete  with  outward  gayety 
to  Carl  and  Violet,  but  within  their  hearts  a  longing,  craving, 
unexpressed  misery. 

Violet's  father  had  persecuted  her  almost  beyond  endurance, 
with  his  exorbitant  demands  for  money,  and  at  last  with  the 
command  that  she  would  leave  Mr.  Lincoln  and  come  to  him. 
His  evil  mind  had  conceived  the  thought  that  more  money  could 
be  realized  by  making  a  public  singer  of  her — by  making  mer- 
chandise of  her  magnificent  voice — than  by  demands  upon  the 
wealth  of  her  benefactor,  Mr.  Lincoln. 


78  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

Louise  Willett  had  become  very  much  at  home  at  Mr.  Lincoln's, 
and  she  and  Violet  were  the  best  of  friends.  All  the  nobility  of 
her  character  had  been  awakened  by  her  love  for  Violet.  She 
had  striven  to  win  Carl  back  to  her  side,  simply  to  gratify  her 
love  of  power,  but  she  soon  understood  how  useless  was  the  trial. 
Every  glance  from  his  eye,  every  word  uttered  by  him  in  the 
presence  of  Violet,  bespoke  a  love  deep  and  pure  as  the  breath- 
ings of  a  redeemed  soul.  And,  generous  almost  to  a  fault,  she 
determined  that  she  would  at  least  command  his  respect  by  com- 
pletely surrendering  all  thought  of  reclaiming  his  allegiance,  and, 
by  companionship  with  the  girl  of  his  choice,  all  that  was  good 
and  pure  in  her  passionate,  impulsive  nature,  beautified  her  life, 
while  her  friendship  to  the  tortured,  distressed  girl,  was  like  a 
plank  thrown  out  to  some  submersed  unfortunate,  and  sometimes 
Violet  felt  but  for  her  she  would  lay  down  her  arms  and  let 
come  the  crushing  denouncement. 

Mr.  Lincoln,  Carl  and  Violet  were  all  groping  in  the  darkness 
of  misunderstanding.  Mr.  Lincoln  thought  his  Heart's-ease  griev- 
ing because  Carl  did  not  love  her  sufficient  to  make  her  his 
wife,  and  because  of  her  pride  was  wasting  her  young  life  away. 
Carl  believed  her  to  be  losing  her  bloom  on  account  of  her 
kr  owledge  of  the  existence  of  his  wife,  while  the  fair  girl  had 
forced  herself  to  give  up  all  hope  of  ever  claiming  Carl's  love, 
because  her  father  was  a  low-born  vagabond. 

During  the  weeks  that  had  passed  Rufus  Day  and  his  mother 
had  been  staying  in  the  city,  leaving  their  accomplice,  Kate 
Carter,  in  her  home  at  Weston,  to  first  wonder,  then  to  grow 
suspicious  of  them  both,  and  to  fear  that  now  after  she  had  served 
them  that  they  had  cast  her  off.  If  Rufus  was  going  to  marry 
her  as  he  had  promised,  why  did  he  remain  away  from  her? 
What  was  his  business  in  the  city  ?  These  thoughts  multiplied 
themselves  in  her  mind  day  after  day,  •  until  she  resolved  to  go 
and  see  for  herself  why  her  lover  tarried  so  long  from  her  side. 

She  knew  Mrs.  Day's  address,  but  she  did  not  intend  to  go  to 
her — she  only  desired  to  make  sure  that  Rufus  had  not  become 
weary  of  her  and  taken  a  fancy  to  some  one  fairer  than  she. 
An  advertisement  in  a  daily  paper  gave  her  the  opportunity  she 
so  much  desired. 


A    WAYSIDE   VI O LEI.  79 

Mrs.  Willett's  waiting  maid  had  become  insolent  and  careless, 
and  it  was  her  advertisement  for  another  that  had  attracted  the 
attention  of  Kate,  and  with  very  little  preparation  she  started  for 
the  city.  With  considerable  inquiry  she  found  Mrs.  Willett's  ele- 
gant home  and  was  admitted  to  her  presence,  and  her  slender, 
tidy  figure,  pretty  face,  and  modest  manner,  pleased  the  lady, 
and  without  any  trouble  whatever  she  was  engaged.  Louise 
Willett  loved  everything  beautiful,  and  the  shy,  sweet  prettiness 
of  the  country  girl  caught  her  fancy,  just  as  a  stray  flower  by 
the  wayside  might  have  done,  she  little  thinking  what  the  result 
of  her  indulgent  fancy  would  lead  to,  or  what  strange  develop- 
ments her  coming  would  bring  to  light. 

Kate  did  not  take  kindly  to  her  new  life  at  first,  but  she  had 
not  come  to  enjoy  herself — she  had  come  to  investigate.  Her 
eyes  were  constantly  upon  the  alert  for  a  glimpse  of  the  form  she 
so  strangely  loved — strange,  because  there  seemed  nothing  in 
common  between  her  and  Rut'us.  He  was  tyranical,  stubborn, 
uncouth,  and  far  from  handsome  in  face  and  form,  while  she  was 
confiding,  yielding,  affectionate,  and  pretty.  But  for  all  that, 
her  heart's  best  love  had  been  lavished  upon  him — lavished  all  in 
vain. 

The  first  week  passed  without  a  ripple  of  interest  to  her,  but 
one  afternoon  soon  after,  as  she  was  walking  in  the  vicinity  of 
the  address  given  her  by  Mrs.  Day,  she  came  upon  a  beautiful 
young  girl,  standing  talking  to  an  old  poverty-marked  man. 
Something  about  the  elegantly  dressed  lady  seemed  familiar. 
Where  had  she  seen  that  graceful,  haughty  lifting  of  the  head, 
those  dark  violet  eyes,  and  perfect  crimson  lips  ?  She  glanced 
carelessly  at  the  old  man,  who,  she  supposed,  had  been  asking 
charity  from  the  young  lady,  and  instantly  the  color  fled  from 
her  face,  and  a  look  of  wonder  filled  her  eyes,  for  despite  his 
disguise  she  recognized  in  him  her  miscreant  lover,  Rufus  Day. 
What  did  it  mean  ?  Why  was  he  disguised  ?  She  entered  a 
millinery  store,  and  under  the  pretense  of  examining  a  hat,  she 
watched  the  strange  couple.  At  last  the  lady  with  a  gesture  of 
thrilling  despair  turned  away,  and  hastening  out  from  the  store 
Kate  joined  the  impostor,  and  as  he  turned  to  see  who  was  walk- 
ing so  close  by  his  side,  she  said  : 

' '  Why,  Rufus  Day  !  What  in  the  world  are  you  dressed  up 
in  this  fashion  for  ? " 


80  A   WAYSIDE    VIOLET. 

Had  an  angel  appeared  by  his  side  and  spoken,  he  could  not 
have  been  more  surprised. 

"Kate  Carter!  What  are  you  doing  here?"  he  asked,  breath- 
lessly. 

"Answer  my  question,  Rufus,  and  I  will  tell  you  why  I  am 
here?"  Kate  said,  almost  sternly. 

Rufus  had  regained  his  composure  by  this  time,  and  a  low, 
cunning  laugh  came  from  his  lips. 

"Oh,  only  a  little  masquerading,  Kate!"  he  said,  "They  all 
do  that  in  the  city.  Why,  it  is  almost  impossible  to  find  any- 
thing here  that  is  honest  and  straightforward." 

"  Yes,  but  who  was  the  lady  you  were  talking  to  — it  seems  to 
me  that  I  have  seen  her  before?" 

"Ah,  I  see!  My  girl  is  just  the  least  bit  jealous.  Isn't  she 
a  beauty?  She  is  Miss  Violet  Lincoln,  the  belle  of  New  York. 
Every  one  is  going  wild  about  her  voice.     She  sings  like  a  bird." 

"What  were  you  saying  to  her,  Rufus?  Are  you  acquainted 
with  her,   or  were  you  asking  money  of  her?" 

"  Yes,  yes,  doing  a  little  begging  !  You  know,  my  girl,  it  takes 
money  to  live  in  the  city,"  and  Rufus  gave  a  coarse,  disagree- 
able  laugh.      "Now,  Kate,  what  are  you  doing  here?" 

Kate  understood,  although  vaguely,  that  Rufus  avoided  a  direct 
answer  to  her  questions,  and  it  annoyed  her  not  a  little,  without 
her  being  able  to  define  the  reason. 

"I  am  waiting  maid  to  Mrs.  Willett,"  she  replied.  "You 
seemed  to  like  the  city  so  much  I  thought  I  would  come  and  try 
it  myself,''  then  her  eyes  filled  with  tears,  and  her  red  lips  trem- 
bled with  tender  emotion.  "You  know,  Rufus,  it  was  so  lone- 
some after  you  went  away  !  " 

"Well,  well,  Kate,  that  is  all  right!  I  am  glad  that  you  came. 
I  would  have  been  home  long  ago,  but  mother  and  I  had  a  little 
business  that  was  keeping  us  here.  And  you  are  with  the  young 
widow,  Mrs.  Willett  ?  She  is  upper  ten,  Kate,  and  no  mistake ! 
You  see  I  know  them  every  one,  although  I  have  not  a  visiting 
acquaintance  with  them." 

Rufus  smiled  ironically  at  the  idea  of  his  acquaintance  with  the 
fashionable  society  of  New  York,  while  Kate  thought  him  good 
enough  to  mingle  with  the  very  best  of  them. 

"I  must  go  now,  Rufus  ;  Mrs.  Willett  always  wants  me  at  five 
o'clock,"  Kate  said,  her  voice  low  and  tender. 


A  WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  81 

**Well,  Kate,  I  am  sorry  to  part  with  you  so  soon.  When 
can  you  come  and  see  mother?" 

"Oh,  almost  any  time,  Rufus.  Mrs.  Wi]lett  is  so  kind  to  me, 
she  lets  me  go  out  whenever  I  ask  her,"  exclaimed  the  delighted 
girl. 

"That's  kind;  say  tomorrow  evening,  and  I  will  walk  home 
with  you." 

"Oh,  Rufus,  that  will  be  so  nice!  I  was  almost  afraid  that 
you  would  be  out  of  humor  with  me  for  coming  to  the  city,  but 
I  did  want  to  see  you  so  badly." 

The  rose  color  dyed  cheek  and  brow  of  the  young  girl  at  her 
unguarded  confession,  but  Rufus  did  not  see  anything  but  that 
which  was  lady-like  and  proper.  His  egotism  declared  it  due 
him,  and  he  accepted  the  love  of  the  unsophisticated  girl  as  a 
matter  of  course,  simply  to  be  tolerated,   not  returned. 

Other  eyes  than  Kate's  had  witnessed  the  meeting  between 
Rufus  Day  and  beautiful  Violet  Lincoln. 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  just  come  out  from  the  studio  of  a  friend  as 
Violet  met  Rufus  but  a  few  feet  from  him,  and  full  of  surprise 
he  watched  them.  Soon  he  became  assured  that  this  was  not 
their  first  interview,  and  that  they  had  met  by  appointment. 
Who  was  the  bold,  insolent  man,  and  what  was  he  to  Violet  ? 
What  was  he  demanding  so  insultingly,  and  why  did  Violet  per- 
mit it  ?  As  they  separated  he  turned  homevvard,  his  heart  filled 
with  sad  forebodings.  He  was  at  a  loss  to  know  what  to  do  or 
how  to  act.  He  had  thought  her  so  pure  and  proud,  so  far  above 
the  disreputable  class,  that  he  had  not  inquired  into  her  early 
history  as  he  might  have  done.  But  one  fact  was  plain  to  him : 
it  was  her  association  with  this  man  that  was  robbing  her  cheek 
oi  its  rich  bloom,  and  destroying  the  sparkle  of  her  lovely  eyes. 
With  his  quick  power  of  penetration  he  had  discovered  at  the  first 
glance  that  which  the  unsuspicious  girl  had  failed  to  detect  in 
her  several  meetings  with  the  man,  and  that  was,  that  he  wore 
a  disguise,  and  a  poorly  arranged  one,  betraying  him  a  novice  in  the 
business.  Not  knowing  what  better  to  do,  Mr.  Lincoln  decided 
to  refrain  from  questioning  Violet  for  awhile  and  watch  the  man 
carefully. 

After  his  return  home,  while  he  was  seated  in  the  library  deep 
in  thought  concerning  what  he  had  seen,  Violet  came  into  the 
6 


■82  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

room,  her  step  slow  and  her  sweet  face  sad,  and  wearily  seated 
herself  on  an  ottoman  at  his  feet,  and  laying  her  head  upon  his 
knees,  she  burst  into  a  passionate  flood  of  tears,  Mr.  Lincoln 
stroking  her  dark  hair  tenderly,  not  trying  to  check  her  tears, 
for  he  knew  full  well  that  her  pent-up  grief  could  not  find  relief 
in  a  safer  way.  Soon  the  passion  of  her  soul  had  spent  itself, 
and  raising  her  tear-stained  face,  she  said  : 

"Uncle  Robert,  forgive  me!  If  I  had  not  come  to  you  I 
would  have  died!  Oh,  if  my  mother  had  lived;  but  I  have  no 
one  to  go  to  but  you  !  " 

"What  is  it,  Heart's  ease?  I  will  help  you — I  will  shield  you 
even  with  my  life,"  he  answered  slowly,  greatly  moved. 

"Oh,  Uncle  Robert,  I  cannot  tell  you,  but  it  is  killing  me!" 

"What  is  killing  you,  Violet?" 

"The  secret,  Uncle  Robert,  that  is  driving  the  life-blood  from 
my  heart — and  I  dare  not  tell  you !  You,  with  your  proud,  stain- 
less name,  would  dislike  me,  even  as  you  love  me  now.  I  would 
give  the  world,  if  it  were  mine,  if  I  had  never  come  into  your 
life,  if  to  come  must  be  to  deceive !  " 

"Violet,  you  have  not  sinned?  There  is  no  guilt  in  your 
girl-heart?  Answer  me.  Heart's  ease,"  and  a  swift  shadow  dark- 
ened his  face. 

Violet  raised  her  clear,  honest  eyes  to  his,  wondering  that  he 
could  ask  such  a  question. 

"No,  Uncle  Robert.  My  life  so  far  has  been  pure  and  true. 
You  surely  did  not  doubt  my  innocence  ?  " 

Mr.  Lincoln  gave  one  long,  searching  look  into  the  lovely  dark 
eyes  before  him,  and  then  in  spite  of  all  he  had  seen,  he  believed 
himself  unjust  to  the  young  girl — he  had  been  suspicious  beyond 
that  which  the  trifling  incident  warranted. 

"  No,  Violet,  one  glimpse  of  the  soul  shining  through  your 
truthful  eyes  would  prove  your  innocence,  even  against  the 
strongest  circumstantial  evidence.  You  may  be  burdened  with 
the  secret  of  another,  but  I  believe  your  life  to  be  open  and 
entirely  free  from  deception.  If  I  did  not,  I  would  be  miserable 
indeed.  I  hate  and  detest  a  lie — a  living  deceit !  I  could 
pardon  anger,   or  even  violence,    but  a  cruel  lie,    never !  " 

Violet  recoiled  from  him  with  a  'look  of  terror  on  her  white 
face.     She  felt  herself  being  encompassed  about  with  all  the  power 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  83 

of  an  unseen  force,  determined  to  work  her  destruction.  What 
was  her  own  life  but  a  lie  ?  Why  had  she  never  thought  it  wrong 
before?  What  would  her  kind  old  friend  say,  if  she  was  to  tell 
him  that  she  had  been  a  bride  for  three  years — that  she  had  met 
her  husband  almost  daily  for  several  weeks?  What  excuse  could 
she  present  to  him,  for  her  actions,  for  willfully  deceiving  him  ? 
No,  not  willfully;  she  had  had  no  definite  purpose  in  keeping  her 
marriage  a  secret,  beyond  that  which  concerned  Carl  and  herself. 
And  she  had  raised  her  eyes  to  his  and  declared  that  her  life 
was  pure  and  true,  while  he  had  plainly  shown  her  that  she  was 
living  a  falsehood  daily.  Oh,  how  intricate  her  way  was  becom- 
ing, causing  even  the  light  of  Heaven  to  grow  dim  around  her 
footsteps  !  Somehow,  the  disgrace  attending  the  acknowledgment 
of  her  father  seemed  to  sink  into  insignificance,  in  comparison 
with  her  own  life  of  deception. 

"What  is  it,  Violet?"  questioned  Mr.  Lincoln.  "You  need 
not  fear  to  confide  in  me." 

Violet  lifted  a  saddened,  grieved  face  to  his  sight ;  her  lips 
trembling,  and  her  slender  fingers  clasping  and  unclasping  them- 
selves nervously. 

"Not  to-night,  Uncle  Robert.  I  could  not  endure  it!  Some 
other  time  and  I  will  tell  you  all." 

She  shuddered  as  the  word  "all"  passed  her  lips.  Now  it 
signified  so  much  more  than  ever  before.  Then  she  wondered 
if  Carl  would  not  despise  her  for  deceiving  him.  Why  had  she 
been  so  blind,  so  foolish  ? 

"  Well,  Heart's  ease,  any  time  will  answer.  I  imagine,  when 
the  secret  is  confessed,  its  gigantic  proportions  will  exist  only  in 
fancy,  not  in  reality.  Come,  cheer  up,  Violet !  I  want  to  see 
you  my  own  light-hearted  girl  again." 

"You  are  very  kind.  Uncle  Robert.  Every  sentence  that  you 
have  spoken  to  me  has  soothed  and  rested  me  like  a  mother's 
lullaby  song  calms  the  torrent  of  her  child's  grief;  and  soon,  very 
soon,  I  will  tell  you  that  which  so  much  distresses  me.  Now, 
good-night;  I  am  so  glad  that  there  is  one  who  trusts  me  so 
completely." 

As  Violet  rose  to  her  feet,  Mr.  Lincoln  pressed  a  kiss  upon 
her  fair  brow,  which  fell  like  a  solemn  benediction  upon  her  sorely 
troubled  soul. 


84  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

"  Fear  not,  child!  God  will  take  care  of  my  pure  Violet,"  he 
said  earnestly.  •'  Only  we  must  not  grow  impatient  because 
little  afflictions  cluster  around  our  path.  He  knoweth  best.  He 
will  not  permit  us  to  be  tried  beyond  that  which  we  can  with- 
stand." 

A  smile  of  exquisite  sweetness  lit  up  Violet's  downcast  face  as 
Mr.  Lincoln's  words  of  consolation  found  way  to  her  soul.  Yes, 
God  would  care  for  her !  Then  she  thought  how  strange  it  was, 
that  ever  since  Carl  had  so  prophetically  given  utterance  to  the 
expression,  that  it  had  always  come  to  her  in  every  time  of  ex- 
treme need,  and  because  of  its  soothing  power  it  had  become 
her  talisman,  her  comforter,  her  salvation. 

"Yes,  Uncle  Robert,  we  are  all  in  the  hands  of  God,"  she 
said,  thoughtfully.  "Fate  is  wavering  and  uncertain,  but  God 
IS  eternal.  I  like  to  remember  that  He  is  all-powerful  and  mer- 
ciful." 


CHAPTER  XIII.— Earnest  Treherne's  Return. 

One  glorious  spring  morning  as  Carl  was  walking  slowly  down 
Broadway,  he  came  face  to  face  with  one  who  was  dearer  than 
a  brother  to  him. 

"Hello,  Earnest!  Where  did  you  drop  from?"  he  said  joy- 
fully. 

Earnest  Treherne  halted  abruptly  and  grasped  the  extended 
hand  of  his  friend. 

"Just  come  ashore,  Carl,  twenty  minutes  ago!  I  am  glad  to 
meet  you,  my  boy ;  but  you  are  not  looking  well.  Not  been 
sick,  have  you  ?  " 

"No,  Earnest,  I  am  well,  and  am  truly  delighted  to  have  you 
home  again — but  I  forgot — England  is  your  future  home.  Lucky 
boy  that  you  are !  But  come  with  me  to  my  rooms.  I  have 
something  to  tell  you.  I  want  my  old  friend's  sympathy  and 
advice.     Oh,  Earnie,  I  have  missed  you  so  much  this  winter  !  " 

Earnest  Treherne  gazed  with  surprise  into  Carl's  flushed,  trou- 
bled face,  and  intuitively  he  perceived  that  it  was  mind  torture, 
instead  of  bodily  suffering,  that  had  caused  him  to  become  so  pale 
and  thin.  He  remembered  how  impulsive  and  generous  Carl 
was — and  sometimes  just  a  little  wild — and  he  concluded  at  once 
that  he  had  fallen  into  trouble  in  this  way. 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  85 

"Certainly,  Carl,  I  will  go  with  you  for  an  hour  or  so,"  said 
Earnest. 

They  walked  on  together  conversing  about  Earnest's  trip  over, 
English  news,  and  New  York  gossip,  until  they  had  reached  Carl's 
handsome  rooms.  After  seating  themselves  Carl  laid  his  hand 
upon  Earnest's  arm,   and  said  : 

"  Earnest,  you  remember  the  ceremony,  by  the  spring  in  the 
woodland,  back  of  Weston  ?" 

"Yes,  Carl.  It  would  be  very  strange  if  I  did  not,"  replied 
Earnest,  a  shadow  of  regret  stealing  over  his  countenance.  "  I  did 
a  very  weak,  foolish  thing  when  I  listened  to  your  argument, 
and  made  the  child  your  wife.  It  has  been  the  one  regret  of 
my  life." 

"And  mine  also.  Earnest;  but  it  was  not  your  fault.  In  the 
reckless  mood  I  was  in  at  that  time,  I  would  have  married  Dora 
Markley,  even  if  I  had  been  obliged  to  travel  fifty  miles  for  a 
minister.  I  was  a  desperate  man,  deaf  to  all  reason  or  advice; 
but  now,  Earnie,  I  would  give  all  I  possess  if  you  could  undo 
your  work — if  I  was  a  free  man." 

Carl  bowed  his  head  upon  his  friend's  arm  and  groaned  aloud. 

"Carl,  what  is  the  trouble?     Tell  me  all,"  Earnest  questioned. 

"There  is  very  little  to  tell.  Earnest.  It  can  all  be  summed 
up  in  a  few  words,"  said  Carl,  lifting  his  head  sadly.  "I  love 
the  dearest,  fairest  girl  in  all  the  world,  and  she  loves  me,  while 
chains  stronger  than  the  bands  of  steel  have  bound  me  to  an- 
other. Oh,  pity  me,  Earnie  !  To  live  thus  is  wearing  my  life 
away  !  " 

"  And  Dora  Leslie  ?" 

"Hush,  Earnest!  That  name  puts  a  demon  in  my  heart! 
She  still  lives  at  Weston,  as  Dora  Markley,  and  I  would  welcome 
death  before  I  will  recognize  her  as  my  wife.  I  pay  her  one 
thousand  dollars  to  forget  that  she  is  the  wife  of  Carl  Leslie, 
but  I  am  in  constant  dread  of  detection.  They  are  a  low,  de- 
graded set,  and  one  may  expect  almost  anything  at  their  hands." 

Earnest  dropped  his  head  upon  his  hands  a  moment  in  deep, 
deep  thought,  and  communed  with    his  Heavenly  Father. 

"  Carl,  my  boy,  your  case  is  beyond  the  help  of  any  earthly 
friend,"  he  said,  looking  up  into  Carl's  face.  "God  alone  can 
aid  you.  It  is  all  and  more  than  I  have  feared.  And  the  lady, 
Carl,   whom  you  love — does  she  know  ?  " 


86  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

"Yes,  Earnest,  I  have  confessed  all,  and  in  spite  of  everything 
she  loves  me,"  Carl  said,  proudly. 

"But,  Carl,  is  that  well — is  it  strictly  honorable?  Remember 
that  honor  is  the  grandest  attribute  of  man.  It  takes  the  prece- 
dence of  all  else  in  life.  Dare  you  exchange  love  with  another 
than  your  legitimate  wife  ?  Your  sense  of  honor  drew  me  to  you 
in  the  strongest  tie  of  brotherly  love,  Carl — for  the  sake  of  that 
love — for  the  sake  of  your  own  soul,  do  not  tell  me  that  you 
have  dishonored  your  noble  manhood  and  my  trust !  " 

Earnest  bowed  his  head  again,  his  form  quivering  with  anguish, 
his  face  pale  with  doubt,  else  he  would  have  seen  the  proud  lift- 
ing of  Carl's  head,  the  clear,  truthful  light  in  his  dark  eyes,  well- 
ing up  from  a  soul  of  honor. 

' '  Earnest,  look  into  my  eyes,  and  tell  me  if  you  see  anything 
suggestive  of  guilt,  beyond  that  of  deception  ?  Violet  Lincoln  is 
as  sacred  to  me  as  though  she  were  my  sister.  I  have  never 
even  kissed  her  perfect  lips,  but  she  is  now,  and  will  be  until 
death,  the  life  of  my  existence — the  one  love  oi  my  soul.'' 

A  glow  of  great  joy  overspread  Earnest's  face,  as  he  raised  his 
head  and  reached  out  his  hand  to  Carl. 

"  Forgive  me,  Carl,  for  doubting.  It  was  unworthy  your  friend. 
You  have  been  true  through  every  trial.  God  will  not  forsake, 
or  leave  you  desolate.  The  most  destructive  storm  cloud  must 
be  followed  by  the  bright  sunshine.  You  have  your  honor  and 
the  future — life  is  not  vain  and  empty.  The  promises  of  God 
are  sure  and  steadfast." 

"I  wish  I  possessed  your  faith,  Earnest,  but  I  do  not.  All  is 
bitter  disappointment  and  torturing  dismay.  Nothing  is  tangible 
and  true  but  the  love  of  my  darling  !  I  would  seek  a  divorce, 
but—," 

"No,  Carl,  never!"  interrupted  Earnest  with  deep  feeling. 
"Remember  'what  God  hath  joined  together  let  not  man  put 
asunder.'  Divorce  is  the  work  of  Satan,  and  only  culminates  in 
ruin  and  disgrace  to  the  participants.  Shun  it,  Carl,  as  you 
would  the  foam-covered  rocks  wherein  is  death.  But,  I  would 
like  to  hear  more  of  the  lady  whom  you  love  so  devotedly. 
Who  is  she,  and  where  did  you  meet  her  ?  " 

Aye,  who  was  Violet  Lincoln  ?  Carl  asked  himself  the  ques- 
tion, but  he  could  not  answer.      He  had  never  even  thought  who 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  87 

she  was  before.  He  knew  her  name,  and  that  she  had  been 
adopted  by  Mr.  Lincoln.  But  who  were  her  father  and  mother  ? 
It  did  not  matter — he  only  cared  that  she  was  all  the  world  to 
him — if  she  had  been  cradled  in  the  arms  of  a  queen  she  could 
not  be  more. 

"Her  name  is  Violet  Lincoln,  Earnest,"  he  said.  "She  is 
an  adopted  daughter  of  Mr.  Lincoln's.  We  crossed  the  Atlantic 
together,  and  as  a  natural  consequence,  I  fell  in  love  with  her. 
Why,  Earnest,  every  one  who  sees  her,  falls  in  love  with  her — 
they  could  not  help  it." 

"Certainly  not,  Carl!  "  replied  Earnest,  laughingly.  "Where 
is  the  lady  who  got  you  into  all  this  trouble  ?  " 

"Louise  Dupont !  She  married  a  wealthy  old  man  by  the  name 
of  Willett,  and  he  died  within  a  year,  leaving  her  with  a  cool 
hundred  thousand.  She  is  very  beautiful,  but  I  never  loved  her. 
Earnest,  it  was  only  a  fancy.  The  strangest  idea  of  all  is,  that 
she  and  Violet  are  most  intimate  friends.  I  had  imagined  that 
I  would  dislike  her  for  her  conduct  in  the  past,  but  I  do  not. 
My  love  for  Violet  has  taken  possession  of  every  faculty  of  my 
being,  and  I  have  no  inclination  to  entertain  malice  or  hatred. 
You  must  see  Violet,  and  then  if  you  do  not  agree  with  me,  I 
will  acknowledge  that  I  am  just  a  little  bit  wild.  Earnie,  have 
you  never  been  in  love?" 

"No,  Carl!  I  am  wedded  to  the  ministry.  I  can  work  for 
the  Master  best  as  I  am.  No  human  love  has  ever  filled  my 
heart,  save  the  love  of  mother  and  my  friend  Carl.  I  have  no 
need  of  a  sweet-heart — look  at  the  trouble  you  are  in  because  of 
your  love." 

Carl  gave  a  little  gesture  of  impatience,  as  he  looked  into  his 
friend's  smiling  face. 

"  But,  Earnest,  you  do  not  understand.  I  would  bear  twice  the 
burden  I  now  carry,  before  I  would  give  up  the  love  of  Violet — 
all  the  world  is  as  vapor  in  comparison  with  the  assurance  of  her 
love." 

"Well,  Carl,  I  am  glad  that  you  value  the  price  of  your  mis- 
ery so  high.  I  am  well  contented  with  my  single  state.  Now 
I  must  not  tarry  longer.  I  must  see  mother.  Had  she  known 
of  my  arrival,  I  would  not  have  given  you  the  first  hour  of  my 
return  home.      I  feel  a  trifle  guilty  as  it  is — but    you  looked  so 


88  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

badly  that  I  had  not  the  heart  to  deny  you.     Will  you  go  with 
me,  Carl?" 

Carl    smiled  at  what  he  deemed  his  friend's  ignorance  of   the 
power  of  love,  and  together  they  passed  out  to  the  street. 


CHAPTER  XIV.— RuFUs  Confides  in  Kate. 

Early  in  the  evening  Kate  Carter  hastened  away  to  call  on 
Mrs.  Day  and  Rufus.  She  readily  found  their  boarding  place, 
and  to  her  timid  knock  Mrs.  Day  threw  open  the  door  and  bid 
her  enter  with  quite  a  show  of  cordiality.  "  Hello,  Kitten ! 
Prompt  as  the  sun  rising,"  Rufus  said  pleasantly. 

Kate's  pretty  face  grew  rosy,  and  a  shy,  glad  light  crept  into 
her  bright  eyes,  for  when  Rufus  called  her  "Kitten"  she  knew 
that  he  was  well  pleased  with  her. 

''  I  was  so  homesick  to  see  some  one  from  Weston  that  I  did 
not  wait  a  moment  after  Mrs.  Willett  gave  me  permission  to  go," 
she  said,  with  the  eagerness  of  a  child.  "You  did  not  expect 
to  see  me  here,  did  you,  Mrs.  Day  ? " 

"No,  Kate.  It  was  quite  a  pleasant  surprise.  I  never  saw 
Rufus  so  delighted  over  anything  in  all  my  life." 

Kate  did  not  notice  the  vein  of  irony  underlying  Mrs.  Day's 
words  of  flattery.  She  only  understood  that  Rufus  was  glad  be- 
cause of  her  presence,  and  to  the  strangely  infatuated  girl  this 
was  more  than  life. 

"Yes,  indeed,  Kate,  I  did  want  to  see  you,"  Rufus  replied. 
**  Mother,  don't  you  think  she  knew  me  through  my  disguise. 
How  is  that  for  bright  eyes?" 

"Pretty  good,  my  boy,"  said  Mrs.  Day.  "I  hardly  knew 
you  myself.  But  I'll  venture,  Kate,  that  you  did  not  know  the 
lady  ?  " 

"  No,  I  did  not,  although  I  thought  something  about  her  fa- 
miliar," exclaimed  Kate  eagerly.  "Who  is  she,  Mrs.  Day?  Is 
she  some  one  I  once  knew  ?  " 

A  hoarse,  disagreeable  laugh  came  from  the  lips  of  Rufus,  and 
he  rubbed  his  hands  together  gleefully. 

"I  should  rather  guess  you  did!"  he  said.  "Who  did  she 
remind  you  of,   Kate?     Think  a  minute." 

"Not  Dora,  oh,  Rufus,  not  Dora  Markley  ?  "  said  Kate,  her 
eyes  growing  large  and  dark  with  wonder.     "That  grand,  beauti- 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  89 

ful  lady,  little  Dora?  I  see  it  must  be  so.  And  you,  Rufus, 
what  was  you  talking  with  her  about,  and  dressed  up  like  a  poor 
old  man  ?  " 

"  The  best  joke,  Kate,  that  you  ever  heard  !  Somehow  she  has 
struck  a  bonanza,  and  lives  in  a  perfect  palace.  She  always 
wanted  to  find  her  father,  and  mother  thought  it  would  be  quite 
a  lift  to  us  if  I  would  disguise  myself  and  make  her  believe  that 
I  am  that  worthy  personage,  and  in  need  of  money.  I  have 
done  so,  and  the  plan  works  like  a  charm.  She  does  not  want 
me  to  expose  our  relationship  to  her  aristocratic  friends,  and  con- 
sequently she  comes  down  beautifully  with  the  needful.  Her  old 
father  is  very  grateful,  and  all  that  sort  of  a  thing." 

Kate  listened,  her  head  bent,  her  hands  clasped,  and  her  whole 
expression  betraying  deep  dejection. 

"  You  used  to  think  a  great  deal  of  Dora,  Rufus.  Are  you 
sure  that  you  do  not  now  ?  "  she  said,  tremblingly. 

'*  Why,  Kate,  you  seem  to  forget  that  she  is  married  !  "  Rufus 
said  in  well  feigned  astonishment. 

"  Why,  of  course  she  is — what  was  I  thinking  about !  "  Kate's 
pretty  face  cleared  of  its  cloud  as  though  washed  by  an  April 
shower,  and  the  shadows  lifted  themselves  from  her  dark  eyes. 
"And  handsome  Mr.  Leslie  is  her  husband!  Oh,  Rufus,  if  he 
only  knew,  our  thousand  dollars  would  do  us  very  little  good! 
He  would  imprison  us  all,  wouldn't  he  ? " 

''  I  expect  he  would,  Kate,  but  he  is  not  going  to  find  out. 
No  danger  of  Dora  telling  it." 

"Yes,  but  if  Mr.  Leslie  hears  her  name?  Don't  you  think  he 
will  find  out  in  that  way  ?  " 

"  Not  a  bit  of  it !  The  beautiful  young  lady,  the  belle  of  New 
York,  is  known  as  Violet  Lincoln.  Dora  Markley  was  too  com- 
mon for  one  of  her  style." 

Rufus  snapped  his  fingers  pertly,  his  voice  ringing  with  sar- 
casm. 

"Violet  Lincoln!"  repeated  Kate,  thoughtfully.  "What  a 
pretty  name.  How  strange,  Rufus — it  is  just  like  a  story,  but  I 
cannot  even  guess  how > it  will  end." 

"It  is  not  going  to  end  so  long  as  it  pays  well.  I  am  laying 
up  quite  a  little  nest  egg  for  us,  Kate,"  and  Rufus  smiled  down 
into  Kate's  face  as  he  spoke. 


90  A   WA  YSIDE    VIOLET. 

"Oh,  Rufus,  you  are  so  good!  I  will  save  all  I  can,"  Kate 
exclaimed,  impulsively.  "  Mrs.  Willett  is  so  kind — she  makes  me 
so  many  presents,   that  I  do  not  have  to  spend  my  wages." 

"That  is  nice,  Kate,"  said  Mrs.  Day,  turning  from  the  win- 
dow, where  she  had  very  discreetly  gone  when  Rufus  and  Kate 
began  to  talk.  ' '  And  for  your  life  do  you  not  mention  one 
word  of  what  Rufus  has  told  you.  It  would  make  no  end  of 
trouble  for  him  if  you  should." 

"  Indeed,  Mrs.  Day,  I  will  keep  it  as  secret  as  the  grave. 
No  one  would  have  thought  of  such  a  thing  but  you  and  Rufus." 

Mrs.  Day  winced  a  trifle,  although  Kate  intended  to  compli- 
ment them.  She  realized  that  the  cruel  deception  which  they 
were  engaged  in  was  anything  but  praise-worthy — on  the  con- 
trary, it  was  low  and  contemptible,  but  desire  for  gain  had  blinded 
her  to  all  thoughts  of  disgrace,  and  Rufus  was  a  child  after  her 
own  heart.  They  had  discussed  the  subject  thoroughly  as  to  the 
propriety  of  confiding  in  Kate,  concerning  Dora,  and  had  decided 
that  as  her  suspicions  were  already  aroused,  and  that  it  would 
be  far  better  to  make  an  ally  of  her,  than  to  risk  her  finding  out 
for  herself,  and  probably  betraying  them.  And  with  a  little  well 
arranged  flattery,  they  had  completely  deceived  the  trusting  girl 
who  would  have  believed  almost  anything  Rufus  might  tell  her. 

After  awhile  she  rose  to  go,  and  when  Rufus  declared  his  in- 
tention of  accompanying  her  home,  her  eyes  glowed  like  stars, 
her  face  flushed  with  joy,  and  for  a  time  she  was  in  her  Heaven 
of  Love. 

Mrs.  Day  sat  lost  in  thought  until  Rufus  returned,  and  as  he 
entered  the  room,   she  raised  her  head  and  said  : 

"Well,  Rufus,  we  have  disposed  of  that  little  lump  of  inno- 
cence. I  wish  we  could  handle  Dora  as  easily,  but  we  shall 
have  trouble  with  her  yet,  or  I  am  mistakened." 

"Mother,  I  think  it  is  about  time  for  Dora  to  make  up  her 
mind  to  cast  her  lot  with  her  lonely  old  father,  don't  you  ?  " 

Rufus  paced  restlessly  up  and  down  the  room  as  he  spoke,  his 
face  flushed  hotly  and  an  eager  expression  in  his  eyes. 

Mrs.  Day  looked  up  half  startled  at  his  question.  She  had 
not  thought  beyond  securing  money  from  the  deceived  girl.  What 
did  Rufus  suggest  in  his  strange  language  ?  Surely  no  harm  to 
Dora,  she  would  not  allow  that. 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  91 

"  Why,  Rufus  !  What  do  you  mean  ?  I  don't  understand  you," 
she  said. 

"  Mother,  I  want  Dora.  She  shall  be  mine.  Every  time  I 
meet  her  my  love  grows  stronger.  I  dare  not  trust  her  in  the 
presence  of  Carl  Leslie  longer — something  will  expose  our  scheme, 
and  she  will  be  lost  to  me  forever.  What  does  it  matter  if 
with  a  few  words  she  was  made  his  bride  ?  How  do  we  know 
that  it  was  the  work  of  an  ordained  minister?  Young  men  are 
palming  off  sham  ceremonies  every  day,  on  tender,  confiding 
girls.  Anyhow,  mother,  I  would  marry  her  to  day,  and  take  all 
risks." 

"  Rufus,  you  are  wild  !  "  Mrs.  Day  said,  excitedly.  "  Dora  is 
surely  married,  and  no  mistake.  Do  you  think  Mr.  Leslie  would 
take  all  this  trouble  to  hide  his  marriage  if  it  was  only  a  sham  ? 
I  will  not  lend  myself  to  any  thing  of  this  kind.  It  is  all 
wrong." 

"All  right,  mother,"  Rufus  said  stubbornly.  "I  think  that  I 
can  do  without  your  help.  My  mind  is  fully  made  up.  Dora 
shall  be  mine.  Why,  I  have  grown  so  desperate  that  I  would 
take  the  life  of  Leslie  before  she  should  be  his.  Remember, 
mother,  this  is  no  new  thing  with  me.  I  have  loved  Doa  ever 
since  I  carried  her  in  my  arms,  a  little  babe,  and  every  hour  of 
my  life  that  love  has  grown  stronger  and  stronger,  until  it  is  the 
one  desire  of  my  life.  I  could  as  soon  tear  the  heart  from  my 
breast  and  continue  to  exist,  as  I  can  live  without  Dora.  Mother, 
help  me  once  more,  and  we  will  go  far  away  and  live  a  better 
life.  After  the  girl  is  mine  she  will  think  better  of  me.  I  would 
be  her  slave — do  anything  to  please  her — she  could  not  return  a 
love  like  mine  with  hate." 

Jane  Day  could  but  pity  her  boy,  although  she  acknowledged 
his  wicked  designs  beyond  all  reason.  All  the  anguish  of  his 
soul  found  expression  in  his  pale  face  and  passionate  words. 
She  knew  that  his  affection  for  Dora  was  no  child's  play  with 
him — it  was  life  or  death.  What  must  she  do?  One  thing  in 
favor  of  Rufus  was,  his  mother's  worshipful  love  of  him,  and 
he  watched  with  eager  longing  to  see  what  her  decision  would 
be,  knowing  that  when  once  given  she  would  not  retract. 

For  several  minutes  good  and  evil  lay  side  by  side  in  the  bal- 
ance of   indecision,  the  voice  of    God  whispering,     "beware,   in 


92  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

that  path  lies  death,"  while  Satan  argued,  "  for  your  boy's  sake," 
and  evil  triumphed  for  the  time. 

"  Rufus,  it  is  all  wrong,  but  if  you  are  determined  to  have  the 
girl,  I  might  as  well  help  you,  for  you  would  make  a  regular 
muss  of  the  affair.  How  do  you  propose  to  get  her  into  your 
possession?     You  know  that  she  would  not  come  willingly." 

"  Oh,  mother,  that  is  easy  enough,  now  that  I  can  depend 
upon  you  to  assist  me !  I  knew  that  you  could  not  turn  against 
your  only  boy,  just  when  he  needed  you  as  never  before.  You 
see  I  have  been  telling  Dora  that  there  is  a  fortune  in  her 
voice,  and  that  her  old  father  ought  to  have  the  benefit  of  it. 
I  think  rather  than  I  should  tell  Mr.  Lincoln  who  she  is,  that 
she  will  conclude  to  become  a  professional  singer,  don't  you? 
After  she  finds  out  who  I  am,  and  we  are  married,  we  will  all 
move  out  west,  turn  over  a   new  leaf,   and  begin  to  live   right." 

Rufus  was  not  so  dishonest  in  his  intentions  as  his  language 
might  lead  one  to  suppose.  He  did  not  think  that  what  he  was 
about  to  do  was  such  a  dreadful  crime  after  all.  Dora  had  not 
lived  with  Carl  Leslie — had  never  even  claimed  his  name.  He 
did  not  know  that  Dora  loved  Carl,  and  that  she  knew  she  was 
his  bride.  He  only  realized  that  it  was  within  his  reach  to 
make  her  his  by  consent  or  force,  and  he  was  determined  to  use 
his  power. 

"But,  Rufus,  what  will  you  do  with  Kate?"  questioned  Mrs. 
Day  anxiously.  "It  is  a  shame  to  fool  the  poor  girl  so !  I 
never  saw  any  one  so  completely  deceived  as  she  is,  but  if  she 
knew  all,  she  might  give  you  some  trouble  yet." 

"  Oh,  Kate  is  all  right,  mother  !  She  hasn't  got  the  spirit  of 
a  fly.  I  am  actually  disgusted  with  myself  for  even  pretending 
to  care  anything  for  her.  She  is  no  more  like  Dora  than  the 
light  of  a  candle  is  like  the  noon-day  sun.  Beautiful,  glorious, 
Dora!" 

"  Well,  all  I  have  to  say  is,  don't  be  too  sure  that  Kate  has 
no  spirit,"  replied  Mrs.  Day,  with  a  knowing  shake  of  her  head. 
**  I  have  seen  her  eyes  flash  more  than  once,  and  if  she  has  the 
least  inkling  of  our  little  scheme,  I  rather  think  she  would  betray 
some  interest  in  the  matter." 

"What  is  the  trouble,  mother  ?  It  isn't  like  you  to  be  so  fear- 
ful.     We  won't  try  that  bridge  until  we  reach  it,  anyhow.     All 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  93 

I  want  now  is  to  secure  Dora,  then  we  will  look  to  Kate — we 
can  at  all  hazards  keep  her  in  the  dark  until  the  affair  is  settled. 
What  is  your  plan,  mother?" 

Mrs.   Day  looked  at  Rufus  a  itvf  moments  in  silence. 

"I  have  not  thought  enough  about  it,  my  boy.  Don't  be  too 
hasty;    there  is  time  enough,"  she  said. 

"Time  enough,  mother!  That  is  all  you  know  about  it,"  he 
exclaimed,  impatiently.  "  Every  hour  is  full  of  danger  to  me — 
I  am  not  safe  so  long  as  she  meets  Carl  daily." 

Rufus  rose  to  his  feet  and  taking  his  hat,  left  the  room,  while 
Mrs.  Day  gave  herself  up  to  thought,  planning  how  best  to  en- 
tice the  beautiful  young  girl  into  the  hands  of  her  son,  never 
for  a  moment  dwelling  on  the  sin  or  the  disgrace  and  sorrow  in 
store  for  their  victim,  only  blindly,  recklessly  indulging  her  pro- 
pensity for  scheming  and  intrigue. 


CHAPTER  XV.— Heartaches. 

Violet  spent  a  miserable  morning  following  her  conversation 
with  Mr.  Lincoln.  Her  whole  soul  was  in  a  fever  of  excitement 
and  commotion.  One  moment  she  thought  herself  ready  to  con- 
fess all  her  deceit  and- faults,  in  the  next  she  would  have  suffered 
tortures  before  she  would  have  borne  the  look  of  pitiful  amaze- 
ment and  withering  contempt  which  she  believed  would  find  ex- 
pression on  the  face  of  her  dear  friend.  Why  had  circufnstances 
placed  her  in  so  trying  a  position?  Carl  might,  because  of 
his  love,  forgive  her  in  time,  but  her  kind  benefactor,  never. 
His  standard  of  right  and  truth  was  too  high  for  him  to  tole- 
rate the  least  deception — nothing  could  convince  him  that 
it  had  been  done  for  the  best.  She  remembered  hearing  him 
say  once,  that  his  daughter's  greatest  fault  had  been  deception; 
that  he  could  have  forgiven  her  all  else  if  she  had  not  deceived 
him.  And  now,  God  pity  her,  the  adopted  child  of  his  old  age, 
had  for  months  been  living  a  false  life.  Oh,  why  had  God  per- 
mitted her  to  do  so  wicked  a  thing  ?  She  recalled  only  the  day 
before,  when  she  had  thought  her  life  reproachful  only  because 
of  her  disreputable  father,  but  now  her  own  conduct  seemed  de- 
grading and  mortifying  in  the  extreme.  Come  what  might  she 
could  not    confide  in    Mr.    Lincoln  now — she  could  not  give  up 


94  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

his  love  and  respect.  After  they  had  dined,  as  Violet  was  about 
to  leave  the  pleasant  dining  room,  Mr.  Lincoln  drew  her  arm 
in  his  with  a  look  of  yearning  affection,  and  said : 

"Come,  Heart's-ease  !  I  want  a  song.  With  Mrs.  Willett,  Leslie 
and  a  host  of  callers  daily,  I  find  it  impossible  to  claim  your 
society  any  more.  I  believe  I  must  be  growing  childish,  because 
it  grieves  more  than  I  would  care  to  confess.  Do  you  know, 
Violet,  that  if  anything  should  take  you  from  me,  I  would  be 
left  desolate  beyond  expression  ?  All  the  affection  of  my  heart 
has  been  lavished  upon  my  one  pure  Violet.  Sometimes,  in  my 
absorbing  love,  I  almost  forget  that  you  are  not  my  child." 

Violet  turned  and  clasped  both  hands  over  his  arm,  and  with 
all  the  cravings  of  her  soul  looking  out  from  her  dark  eyes,  she 
exclaimed  : 

"  Oh,  Uncle  Robert,  how  much  I  wish  that  I  was  your  own, 
own  child  !  That  your  strong  arms  might  shield  me  from  every- 
thing unpleasant  in  this  life  ;  but  it  cannot  be.  Still  I  shall  not 
leave  you  desolate.  I  would  sacrifice  my  own  life,  before  I 
would  willingly  bring  one  shadow  to  your  brow,  or  grieve  your 
true  and  noble  heart.  Let  the  cost  be  what  it  may,  I  shall  not 
forget  that  your  claim  on  me  is  the  strongest  one  on  earth  ;  all  - 
else  is  but  secondary.  Now,  come,  you  shall  have  this  entire 
evening.     I  fear  that  I  have  been  careless  of  your  pleasure." 

"  Oh,  you  sly  rogue  !  What  a  little  flatterer  !  "  said  Mr.  Lin- 
coln, well  pleased  with  Violet's  earnest  words.  "  If  I  can  only 
keep  young  Leslie  at  arms'  length,  I  shall  fear  no  rival  in  your 
affections  ;  but  I  have  my  doubts  in  the  matter." 

"Never  fear.  Uncle  Robert,  in  that  direction.  Carl  will  make 
you  no  trouble,"  Violet  said,  thinking  sadly  of  the  closed  gate 
between  them,  shutting  her  out  from  the  joys  of  love's  Eden,  and 
crushing  the  delight  from  her   young  life. 

Silently  they  passed  through  the  hall,  and  into  the  parlor,  each 
heart  burdened  with  troublesome  thoughts. 

"  What  shall  I  sing  first.  Uncle  Robert,  ?"  Violet  said,  seating 
herself  at  the  piano. 

"Anything,  Heart's-ease!  The  song  is  of  very  little  conse- 
quence— it  is  your  glorious  voice  I  want  to  hear." 

Violet  rewarded  him  for  his  compliment  with  a  roguish  smile, 
and  a  playful  shake  of  her  head,  then  began  to  sing  some  beau- 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  95 

tiful  old  ballad.  Her  clear,  sweet  voice  echoed  and  re  echoed 
through  the  room,  filling  it  with  unsurpassed  richness  and  volume. 
She  continued  to  sing  until  she  noticed  Mr.  Lincoln's  head  droop 
upon  his  hands.  Then  a  rare,  bewitching  smile  came  to  her  lips, 
as  she  thought  that  she  had  sang  him  to  sleep,  and  springing  from 
the  piano  she  clasped  his  hands  in  hers,  and  gently  drew  them 
from  his  face.  But  the  merry  laugh  bubbling  from  her  lips  died 
away  in  a  sigh,  and  a  grieved  expression  tendered  every  line  and 
curve  of  her  lovely  face.  Tears — hot,  passionate  tears — were 
coursing  down  his  cheeks,  and  standing  in  his  eyes,  and  she  knew 
that  he  was  thinking  of  his  child — his  Violet. 

She  fell  upon  her  knees  by  his  side,  and  bowed  her  head  on 
the  arm  of  his  chair. 

"  Oh,  Uncle  Robert,  I  am  so  sorry  that  I  have  made  you  cry  !  " 

"Do  not  grieve,  Violet.  It  was  not  your  fault,  that  I  am 
making  a  baby  of  myself.  Your  last  song  was  so  familiar.  My 
child  sang  it  for  me  the  last  time  I  ever  looked  upon  her  face, 
and  then,  while  I  loved  her  so,  she  died  away  from  home  and 
father,  and  because  of  pride,  the  saddest,  crudest  thing  in  all  this 
world,  I  denied  her  my  forgiveness.  Do  you  wonder  that  the 
song  broke  the  ice  of  an  old  man's  hardened  heart  ? " 

"No,  no.  Uncle  Robert!  You  are  not  hard-hearted!  You 
shall  not  speak  so  ill  of  my  best — my  truest  friend,"  and  Violet 
lifted  her  tear-dimmed  eyes  to   his  face,   in    pleading  tenderness. 

At  this  moment  Louise  Willett  was  announced,  and  rising  to 
her  feet,  Violet  welcomed  her  with  a  cordiality  tendered  only  to 
an  intimate  friend.  Mr.  Lincoln  greeted  her  kindly,  and  after  a 
{^•^  moments'  conversation  he  left  them  alone. 

"Louise,  you  noticed  how  deeply  Uncle  Robert  was  affected 
when  you  came  in  ? "  said  Violet,  as  he  passed  from  the  room. 
"I  was  singing  to  him,  and  something  in  the  song  caused  him  to 
think  of  his  daughter,  who  is  dead.  Oh,  Louise,  he  is  just  the 
grandest  and  best  old  man  in  all  the  world !  " 

"  Best  old  man,  Violet !  "  replied  Louise,  archly.  "  I,  too,  think 
him  grand  and  good,  but  Carl  would  not  like  to  hear  you  assert 
even  so  much  as  that,   I  imagine." 

An  earnest,  tender  light  came  into  Violet's  eyes,  and  a  sudden 
rosy  blush  to  her  face,  as  she  drew  Louise  close  to  her  side, 
and  said  : 


96  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

"  Louise,  I  want  to  ask  you  one  question,  and  I  fear  to  do  so. 
I  would  not  wound  your  feelings  for  a  great  deal,  but  I  do  so 
much  desire  to  know  if  you  ever  loved  Carl  as  I  love  him?" 

Louise  lifted  her  head  with  a  smile  of  assurance  on  her  lips, 
and  bent  and  kissed  the  rose-bud  mouth,  so  close  her  own,  be- 
fore answering  her  trembling,  reluctant  question. 

"  I  am  so  glad  that  you  have  asked  the  question,  Violet,  be- 
cause I  have  wanted  so  much  to  tell  you  about  Carl  and  myself, 
and  how  near  we  came  to  being  married.  Although  he  is  noble 
and  true,  yet  I  never  loved  him,  Violet,  as  you  love.  He 
pleased  my  fancy,  and  his  attentions  flattered  my  vanity,  and  for 
a  time  I  thought  the  feeling  was  love,  and,  strange  to  say,  he 
imagined  that  I  was  his  ideal  woman,  while  I  only  possessed  the 
power  to  claim  his  admiration.  Why,  if  I  had  truly  loved  Carl, 
do  you  think  I  would  have  given  him  up  for  the  wealth  of  an 
old  man  ?  No,  I  was  only  interested  in  him,  and  a  life  of  com- 
plete affluence  with  Mr.  Willett,  proved  more  alluring  and  attrac- 
tive, than  simple  riches  with  handsome  Carl  Leslie.  I  have  never 
loved  any  one  as  you  seem  to  love  Carl.  I  have  not  yet  met 
the  one  who  could  stir  to  its  depths  my  passionate,  willful  heart. 
So  far  my  life  has  only  responded  to  surface  agitation — to  mo- 
mentary affection.  Now,  are  you  satisfied,  little,  conscientious 
prude  ? " 

Violet  smiled  a  sad,  little  denying  smile,  and  thought  that  she 
had  proven  herself  any  thing  but  conscientious, 

"Yes,  Louise,  I  am  satisfied,"  she  said.  "My  love  for  Carl 
was  always  shadowed  by  the  thought  that  what  was  my  gain 
was  perhaps  your  loss.  I  was  well-assured  that  if  you  ever 
loved  him  you  must  love  him  still.  I  do  not  believe  that  we 
ever  love  but  once  in  our  life  time — truly,  honestly,  and  without 
reserve — and  let  the  emotion  come  early  or  late  in  life,  it  is  for- 
ever— even  unto  the  death.  How  sad  for  both,  if  you  had  mar- 
ried without  love,  Louise  !  " 

"Yes,  and  how  sad  for  you,  Violet!"  and  the  low,  silvery 
laugh  of  Louise  rang  out  clear  as  a  bell,  then  a  great  serious- 
ness shone  from  her  dark  eyes,  as  she  continued  :  "Fate  per- 
mitted us  to  drift  along  in  ignorance  of  our  true  feelings  until 
our  Heavenly  Father,  whose  eyes  of,  love  and  mercy  reach  be- 
yond the  present,  and  sees  results,  lifted  his  arm  of  power,   and 


7 HE  WAYSIDE  VIOLET.  97 

said  :  '  it  is  enough,'  and  we  were  saved  from  awakening  to  a 
loveless,  indifferent  married  life.  Carl  thought  me  a  heartless 
flirt  and  cruel  as  death  at  first — but  he  does  not  feel  so  now. 
And  I  love  no  one  so  much  as  Violet  Lincoln." 

"And,  I  love—" 

"  Mr.  Leslie,  Miss  Violet,"  a  servant  most  opportunely  announ- 
ced, and  throwing  open  the  door,  he  admitted  Carl  Leslie  and 
his    friend,   Earnest  Treherne. 

Louise's  beautiful  face  was  convulsed  with  laughter  at  the  ap- 
propriate manner  in  which  Violet's  expression  was  finished, 
while  the  rich  crimson  surged  up  to  the  soft  waves  on  Violet's 
brow. 

After  the  introductions  were  concluded,  Violet  cast  more  than 
one  glance  of  interest  toward  the  handsome,  dignified  gentleman 
who  had  made  her  the  bride  of  Carl  Leslie,  and  she  wondered 
if  it  was  possible  that  he  would  recognize  in  her  the  distressed 
child  whom  his  friend  had  rescued  from  a  life  of  sorrow  and 
poverty.  But  soon  she  realized  her  safety — Earnest  Treherne 
only  vouchsafed  her  glances  of  respectful  indifference,  not  even 
one  gleam  of  acknowledgment  of  her  identity. 

The  evening  passed  away  in  a  very  entertaining  manner. 
Louise  was  forced  to  own  the  truth  to  herself,  th;t  never  had 
she  met  so  stately  and  handsome  a  man,  and  one  so  pleasing. 
Then,  perhaps,  because  of  her  own  rare  brunette  beauty,  his 
blonde  face  pleased  her  fancy,  and  aroused  a  feeling  of  interest 
in  her  fastidious  heart. 

Earnest  readily  bowed  in  submission  to  his  friend's  judgment 
in  regard  to  Violet's  beauty,  but  he  formed  quite  a  different 
opinion  concerning  Louise  Willett.  He  thought  her  the  loveliest 
as  well  as  the  grandest  type  of  woman,  and  wondered  at  the 
choice  Carl  had  made,  and  before  the  evening  was  spent  he 
began  to  think  that  perhaps  Paul,  the  apostle,  had  not  been  the 
essence  of  manly  wisdom  after  all— that  it  might  have  been  pos- 
sible for  him  to  have  been  happier  and  more  useful  in  the  min- 
istry had  he  taken  to  himself  a  helpmate. 
7 


98  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

CHAPTER  XVI.— "Over  the  Line." 

Kate,  little  guessing  the  manner  in  which  her  confiding  love 
was  to  be  betrayed,  was  comparatively  happy  and  contented— the 
would  have  been  entirely  so,  but  for  the  condemning  thought 
that  to  some  extent  she  was  proving  treacherous  to  the  mother- 
less girl,  Dora.  Kate  was  not  naturally  depraved,  and  only  her 
love  for  Rufus  could  have  tempted  her  to  consent  to  the  wicked 
deception. 

Her  stay  with  Mrs.  Willett  had  become  very  pleasant.  She 
loved  Louise  because  she  was  so  kind,  so  gracious,  so  like  a 
queen  among  women.  But  within  the  last  few  days  she  had 
grown  strangely  restless,  and  ill  at  ease,  and  had  she  sought  to 
solve  tlie  reason  of  her  disquietude,  she  would  have  made  a  mise- 
rable failure — as  yet  the  feeling  was  ui  definable. 

She  was  obliged  to  pass  by  a  church  almost  diily,  that  was 
located  but  a  few  doors  from  the  residence  of  ]\Irs.  Willett,  in 
which  revival  services  were  being  held,  and  the  songs  of  praise 
or  invitation  that  floated  out  to  her  ear  had  proven  a  wonderful 
power  of  conviction  to  her  unawakened  soul.  Every  breeze 
seemed  ladened  with  words  of  accusation  and  reproach,  and  she 
could  not  cast  aside  their  influence. 

One  evening  as  she  was  on  her  way  home  from  Mrs.  Day's,  ac- 
companied by  Rufus,  her  steps  lingered  as  they  neared  the  house  of 
God,  and  as  they  came  opposite  the  door,  some  irresistable  power 
prompted  her  to  say  : 

"  Rufus,  you  need  not  go  any  further  with  me,  I  think  I  will 
attend  church  this  evening,"  then  a  sudden  thought  caused  her  to 
add,    'MViU  you  go  with  me?" 

'■  No,  I  believe  not,  Kate.  I  will  go  on  up  town,"  he  re- 
plied. 

And  well  pleased  to  get  away  from  the  society  of  Kate,  he 
turned  away,  leaving  her  standing  reluctant — wavering,  almost 
tempted  to  change  her  mind  and  go  home.  It  was  a  struggle  of 
thrilling  importance  between  the  tender,  pleading  invitation  of  the 
Holy  Spirit  and  the  seductive  persuasion  of  satan.  Some  one 
opened  the  vestibule  door,  and  like  a  voice  from  the  throne  of 
God,  the  words  of  earnest  entreaty  and  supplication  were  wafted 
out  to  her  convicted  heart : 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLE'l.  99 

"Oh  tender  and  sweet  was  the  Master's  voice, 

As  He  lovingly  called  to  me, 

'Come  over  the  line,   it  is  oniy  a  step — 

I  am  waiting,  my  child,   for  thee.' 

'Over  the  line,'  hear  the  sweet  refrain. 
Angels  are  chanting  the  heavenly  strain  : 
•Over  the  line' — why  should  I  remain, 
With  a  step  between  me  and  Jesus  ? 

But  my  sins  are  many,  my  faith  is  small, 
Lo  !  the  answer,  came  quick  and  clear  ; 
'Thou  needest  not   trust  in   thyself  at   all. 
Step  over  the  line,   I  am  here.'  " 

Kate  waited  to  hear  no  more,  but  hastened  inside  the  chtirch 
and  seated  herself  back  by  the  door,  eager  and  ahnost  breathless, 
until  the  last  words  of  the  beautiful  hymn  had  ceased  to  thrill 
the  silence  of  the  sacred  temple,  then  the  commanding  figure  of 
a  handsome  young  man  stood  befofe  her,  and  his  clear,  distinct 
tones  seemed  to  hold  the  vast  congregation  spell-bound,  as  he 
repeated  his  text,  "  (^oine  now,  and  let  us  reason  together,  saith 
the  Lord,  though  your  sins  be  as  scarlet,  they  shall  be  white  as 
snow;  though  they  be  red   like  crimson,   they  shall  be  as  wool." 

Kate  listened  attentively  to  the  impressive  discourse,  but  only 
one  thought,  one  prtcious  promise,  thrilled  the  responsive  chords 
of  her  soul — though  her  sins  be  as  scarlet  they  shall  be  white  as 
snow — all  else  w.re  but  hel[jful  aids  to  the  one  grand  result — 
even  the  salvation  of  her  soul.  And  when  the  request  was  made 
for  those  who  desired  to  seek  the  favor  of  the  Lord,  to  come 
forward,  she  was  among  the  first  to  respond  to  the  call,  and 
while  she  knelt  at  the  altar  of  ]:)rayer,  and  lifted  her  wayward 
heart  to  a  throne  of  ]).  rdoning  Grace,  it  was  the  low,  sympathetic 
voice  of  Earnest  Treherne  that  bid  her  hope  and  trust,  and  it 
was  his  hand  that  led  her  step  by  step,  until  she  stood  "white 
as  snow"  in  the  presence  of  God. 

As  is  always  the  case  with  an  awakened  soul,  the  first  thought 
is  to  make  restitution  for  wrong  committed  or  permitted,  and  the 
beautiful  face  of  Violet  Lincoln  presented  itself  full  of  tender  re- 
proach, and  also  the  grave,  handsome  countenance  of  Carl  Leslie, 
as  she  thought  of  all  the  cruel  wrong  that  was  being  forced  upon 
them.  But  what  should  she  do  ?  Who  would  advise  her  in  the 
matter?     She  did  not  even  know  where  Violet  lived.     A  thought 


100  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

suggested  itself,  which  caused  her  to  lift  her  eyes  sudr'enly,  and  gaze 
long  and  earnestly  into  the  face  of  Earnest  Treherne.  How  no- 
ble and  grand  he  seemed!  He  had  placed  her  "hand  in  His 
wounded  palm,"  why  not  trust  him  to  help  her  again?  The 
thought  grew  to  be  a  determination  with  her,  and  when  the  con- 
gregation had  been  dismissed  she  stole  tim'.dly  to  his  side,  and 
lifting  her  pretty  face  to  his,  now  glowing  with  the  sunshine  of 
God's  redem|)tion,  she  said  : 

"Could  I  see  you  alone  a  few  moments,   sir?" 

Earnest  recognized  her  as  one  of  those  who  had  received  the 
blessing  of  pardon  and  peace,  and  thinking  that  she  desired  some 
spiritual  instruction,  he  replied,   kindly  : 

"Certainly,  jNIiss,  just  step  into  the  inquiry-room  with  me,  and 
any  thing  I  can  do,   I  am  at  your  service." 

He  led  the  way  into  an  adjoining  room  where  were  several 
young  converts  in  deep  conversation  with  men  and  women  of 
God,  and  taking  her  apart  from  them,  he  seated  her,  and  said, 
encouragingly  : 

"Now,  Miss,  if  you  have  any  questions  to  ask?  Your  bright 
face  tells  me  that  Our  Father  has  been  very  gracious  to  you,  in 
as  much  as  you  are  His  child." 

"Oh,  yes,  sir!"  'Though  my  sins  were  as  scarlet,  they  are 
now  white  as  snow,'  but  it  is  not  of  that  I  would  speak.  I  be- 
lieve you  to  be  good  and  true,  else  I  had  not  sought  you.  I 
have  a  secret  that  is  bitterly  wronging  a  fair  young  girl,  and  I 
must  not  keep  it  now — it  would  soil  my  garment  of  snow.  Oh, 
sir,   I  want  your  help  and  advice  in  the  matter !  " 

Earnest  lifted  his  face,  luminous  with  joy  and  confidence  in 
the  power  of  God. 

"Thank  God,  Miss,  that  you  are  beginning  right!"  he  said, 
fervently.  "  Many  a  soul  has  been  lost  after  the  pardon  of  the 
Master,  because  they  have  failed  to  '  hold  fast  that  which  they 
have,'  through  condemnation  for  some  unconfessed  secret.  Do 
not  fear  to  tell  me  all,  as  you  wou'.d  trust  a  brother,  'for  one  is 
your  jNLister,  even  Christ;  and  all  ye  are  brethren.'" 

Kate  let  her  eyes  droop  a  moment  in  sudden  shame.  It 
seemed  so  hard  to  confess  her  sin  and  di'^grace  to  this  minister 
of  God;  but  he  had  said,  "  no  cross,  no  crown,"  and  timidly,  but 
firmly,  she  raised  her  sweet  resolute  face  to  his  : 


A   WAYSIDE  VIOLET.  101 

"Sir,  I  will  not  make  my  story  longer  than  possible,  but  it  may 
necessarily  weary  you,"  she  said.  Then,  in  answer  to  his  reas- 
suring smile,  she  continued:  "Some  time  ago  a  young  man  met 
and  married  an  acquaintance  of  mine,  and  immediately  after  the  cere- 
mony had  been  performed  he  went  away,  and  upon  the  day  fol- 
lowing the  young  girl  disappeared.  After  some  time  he  returned 
to  the  home  of  his  bride,  not  to  claim  her,  but  to  buy  her  silence. 
I  lived  close  by,  and  through  the  persuasions  of  one  whom  I  loved, 
I  acted  the  part  of  the  missing  bride.  The  young  man  did  not 
detect  the  fraud,  but  paid  a  handsome  sum  to  me,  if  I  would 
make  him  no  trouble.  With  the  money  I  had  received,  the  aunt 
and  cousin  of  the  young  bride,  came  to  the  city,  and  after  a  time 
I  followed  them,  and  found  that  they  had  discovered  the  bride, 
who  had  been  adopted  by  a  rich  old  gendeman — but  perhaps  I 
tire  you  ?  " 

Kate  perceived  the  young  man  start  and  his  face  flush  up  hotly, 
and  thought  that  she  was  wearying  him. 

"  No,  no,  Miss  !  Your  story  has  deeply  interested  me,"  he 
hastened  to  reply. 

"The  young  lady  had  always  believed  her  father  living,  and 
knowing  this,  the  young  cousin  disguised  himself  as  a  wretched 
old  man,  and  made  her  believe  that  he  was  her  father.  She  was 
not  well  pleased  with  him,  and  she  is  even  now  paying  him  im- 
mense suras  of  money  not  to  betray  her  relationship — and  all  the 
while  he  is  nothing  to  her.     Now,   what  ought  I  to  do?" 

"  Confess  the  truth  at  once.  Miss.  Go  to  the  young  lady  and 
confess  the  wrong  you  have  done  her,  then  see  the  young  man 
and  he  will  forgive  you  for  deceiving  him,  I  am  sure,"  said  Ear- 
nest,  strctngely  moved  by  the  girl's  story. 

"  But,  sir,  I  do  not  know  where  to  find  either  of  them,"  Kate 
replied,  somewhat  disheartened. 

"Cannot  you  find  out  from  your  friend  who  deceived  them  ?" 

"No,  indeed!  He  must  not  know  that  I  have  ever  con- 
fessed our  deception  to  you." 

"  I  do  not  see  just  what  you  will  do — but  your  duty  is  very 
plain.  You  say  that  the  young  lady  moves  in  the  best  society 
— that  she  is  rich  ?  " 

"Yes,  sir,  and  she  is  one  of  the  handsomest  ladies  I  ever 
saw!     I  could  ask  Mrs.  Willelt,  she  might  be  acquainted  with  her." 


102  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

"  Mrs.  Willett !  Do  you  know  her  ?  "  Earnest  asked  in  amaze- 
ment. 

"  I  live  with  her,  sir.  I  am  her  maid.  She  is  the  dearest 
lady  in  all  the  world ;  but,  oh,  I  dislike  so  much  to  tell  her  how 
wicked  I  have  been  !  I  would  rather  any  one  else  would  know 
than  Mrs.   Willett." 

Kate's  pretty  face  grew  pale,  and  her  lips  trembled  like  those 
of  a  grieved  child.  Earnest  fully  understood  her  reasons  for  dis- 
liking 10  confide  in  her  mistress,  and  thought  of  a  way  out  of 
the  dilemma. 

"What  is  the  name  of  the  young  lady?  I  will  seek  her  out 
for  you,  "  he  said. 

"Oh,  if  you  only  would!  Kate  exclaimed,  gratefully.  "Her 
name  is  Violet  Lincoln." 

"What!"  cried  Earnest,  springing  to  his  feet.  "Did  I  hear 
you  aright?     Did  you  say,   Violet  Lincoln?" 

"Yes,  sir,  Violet  Lincoln,  and  the  name  of  the  gentleman  is 
Carl  Leslie." 

Earnest's  face  lit  up  with  a  sudden  great  joy,  and  unconsciously 
he  sank  upon  his  knees,  and  lifted  his  voice  in  solemn  prayer 
and  thanksgiving, 

Kate  gazed  in  wonder  and  surprise  upon  the  young  man  until 
he  rose  to  his  feet  and  turned  toward  her. 

"Miss,  you  cannot  understand  all  that  this  revelation  is  to  me. 
Carl  Leslie  is  the  dearest  friend  I  ever  had.  Oh,  how  mysteri- 
ous are  the  ways  of  God  !  How  little  we  know  wliat  weak  in- 
strument shall  lead  us  into  the  light  !  Who  would  not  trust  a 
Father  who  is  all  powerful  to  save,  even  to  the  uttermost?  Vio- 
let Lincoln  is  Mrs.  Willett's  most  intimate  friend.  You  must  tell. 
her  all  ;  never  fear  but  she  will  forgive  you.  She  is  the  proper 
one  to  enlighten  Miss  Lincoln.  I  will  tell  Carl.  God  bless  you 
for  your  faith  and  trust!     What  is  your  name.   Miss?" 

"Kate  Carter,"  she  replied,  her  eyes  sparkling  with  delight, 
because  of  the  load  of  guilt  that  had  been  lifted  from  her  soul. 
God  had  forgiven  her,  she  thought,   why  not  Mrs.  Willett  ? 

"  Miss  Carter,  I  have  not  language  to  thank  you  just  nov/,  for 
confiding  in  me,"  Earnest  said  thoughtfully;  "  It  is  all  so  strange. 
Even  with  my  knowledge  of  the  secret  workings  of  God,  before 
this  Divine  Providence  I  stand  amazed." 


A  WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  103 

"  Do  not  thank  me,  sir.  T  would  not  have  done  so  yesterday. 
It  is  the  power  of  God!"  said  Kate,  earnestly. 

"Yes,  Miss  Carter.  It  is  'the  power  of  God  unto  salvation.' 
But  excuse  me,  I  am  detaining  you  longer  than  is  necessary.  It 
is  growing  late.  I  will  see  you  again,"  said  Earnest,  extending 
his  hand. 

Kate  placed  her  hand  in  his,  her  face  radiant  with  a  new  ex- 
pression, and  every  feature  beautified  with  the  glory  of  God's 
sunshine  and  presence. 

"  I  too,  had  forgotten  the  hour,"  she  said,  her  voice  suave  and 
low.  "  Good  night,  sir,  ani  many  thanks  for  your  kindness  to 
a  stranger." 

And  Kate  passed  out  from  the  house  of  God,  her  heart  light, 
and  her  soul  illumined  wiih  the  glory  of  the  Holy  Spirit.  She 
had  passed  "over  the  line." 


CHAPTER  XVII.— "A  Little  Child  Shall  Lead  Them." 

Life  continued  much  the  same  in  the  elegant  home  of  Violet. 
Mr.  Lincoln  was  kindness  itself — continually  watching  for  an  op- 
portunity to  lavish  some  new  favor  upon  her.  Carl,  the  one  love 
of  her  life,  the  afifinity  of  her  soul,  came  and  went  as  pleased 
him.  A  longing,  craving  tenderness  shone  from  Violet's  deep, 
dark  eyes,  when  he  lingered  by  her  side,  and  in  his  absence  she 
was  restless,  uneasy,  and  full  of  freaks,  dreading  a  cruel  some- 
thing, always  expecting  to  be  rudely  deprived  of  every  joy.  As 
a  certainty  of  an  approaching  evil  grew  upon  her,  she  clung 
closer  and  still  closer  to  her  true  friend  Louise — no  one  could 
soothe  and  comfort  her  so  much  as  the  fair  young  widow.  INIr. 
Vancouver  and  Edith  were  often  with  her,  the  child's  quaint  ways 
and  pretty,  womanly  expressions  often  dimpled  her  face  with 
smiles,  when  she  otherwise  would  have  been  sad. 

One  day  when  Edith  was  with  her,  full  of  her  fun  and  mis- 
chief, rambling  over  the  large  house  with  the  freedom  of  a  privi- 
leged fairy,  she  came  upon  the  family  portraits  in  Mr.  Lincoln's 
private  sitting  room.  Mr.  Lincoln  watched  her  flitting  from  side 
to  side  of  this  room,  and  listened  awhile  to  her  odd  criticisms  of 
his  dignified  ancestors,  then  climbing  upon  his  knees  she  began 
to  question  him  concerning  them. 


104  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

She  admired  the  stately  smiling  face  of  his  wife,  but  most  of 
all  she  was  pleased  with  that  of  his  lovely  daughter. 

"Mr.  Lincoln,  where  is  your  daughter  now?''  she  asked. 

"Child,  she  is  in  Heaven,  I  trust,"  he  replied,  gazing  sadly 
upon  the  beautiful  pictured  face  while  he  recalled  all  that  she 
had  been  to  him,  when  she  was  a  child  like  Edith. 

Edith's  sweet  face  clouded,  her  sensative,  sympathetic  nature 
was  ever  quick  to  respond  to  the  sadness  or  mirth  of  others,  and 
she  stroked  his  gray  hair  with  tender  touch. 

"Then  she  is  dead!  "  Oh,  I  am  so  sorry.  How  I  would  love 
to  hear  her  talk,  and  see  her  eyes  sparkle — you  know  that  is  what 
makes  people  handsome.     When  did  she  die  ?  " 

"  A  long  time  ago,"  Mr.  Lincoln  said,  as  though  talking  to 
himself,  then  seeming  to  recall  his  thoughts,  he  continued  earn- 
esdy,  "Edith,  never  deceive  your  father,  no  matter  how  great 
the  temptation.  One  moment  of  deception  may  sadden  many 
hearts  for  a  lifetime.  Always  be  true,  and  shun  a  secret  as 
you  would  a  deadly  serpent.  My  beautiful  child,  how  I  loved 
and  lost  you  !  " 

Edith's  eyes  grew  large  and  dark,  with  wonder,  and  her  little  hands 
were  clasped  around  Mr.  Lincoln's  neck,  in  loving  compassion. 

"Did  your  child  tell  you  a  bad,  bad  story,  Mr.  Lincoln?  Is 
that  what  you  mean  ?  "  she  questioned. 

"No,  Edith,  not  that;  but  she  did  not  tell  me  the  truth — she 
did  not  connde  in  me.  Perhaps  if  her  mother  had  been  spared 
to  us,  all  would  have  been  different.  One  moring  we  waited  ia 
vain  for  her  bright,  winsome  face,  and  quick,  dancing  footsteps. 
It  was  the  saddest  hour  of  my  life,  child.  She  had  left  her  home 
and  fither  for  the  love  of  a  stranger — and  I  had  trusted  her  so 
completely,  so  fully." 

"  Oh,  the  naughty,  naughty  girl  I  To  leave  you  and  this 
beautiful  home !  "  and  sparks  of  indignation  flashed  Irora  Edith's 
expressive  eyes.      "  Did  you  go  after  her  and  bring  her  back?" 

"  No,  Edith.  This  was  not  my  home  at  that  time,  I  lived  on 
the  bank  of  the  Hudson,  in  a  beautiful  place  called  Rose  Cottage. 
I  did  not  go  after  her,  she  had  made  her  choice.  I  would  not 
even  read  her  letters,  but  returned  them  unopened,  and  I  never 
looked  upon  her  face  again.  She  died  away  from  her  home  among 
strangers." 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  105 

Edith  loosened  her  arms  from  around  his  neck,  and  shpped 
down  from  his  knee,  a  look  of  thrilling  contempt  flooding  her 
child-face,  and  tears  of  sympathy  for  the  poor  girl  who  had  died 
among  strangers,   welling  up  in  her  dark  eyes. 

"Mr.  Lincoln,  I  don't  like  you  one  bit!  I  think  you  was  as 
cruel  and  wicked  as  she  was  naughty- !  I  do  not  see  how  you 
could  treat  your  own,  own  child  like  that !  Why,  maybe  she 
was  sorry  right  away,  after  she  had  been  naughty — I  always  am. 
I  expect  she  wrote  and  told  you  all  about  it,  and  wanted  to 
come  home.  Oh,  I  am  so  sorry  that  you  did  not  think  twice 
before  you  treated  her  so  badly  !  Papa  says  I  must  always  think 
twice  and  speak  once." 

Mr.  Lincoln  bowed  his  head  in  deep  distress,  never  had  any- 
thing so  humbled  and  touched  him  as  the  rebuke  of  Edith — 
never  had  his  conduct  appeared  so  contemptible  and  inexcusa- 
ble as  now. 

"Child,  I  also  am  sorry,  but  it  is  too  late,"  he  said,  his 
voice  choked  with  tears.  "My  pride — maddening,  destroying 
pride — prompted  me  to  deny  her.  I  would  give  all  I  possess  to 
find  forgetfulness  and  forgiveness  of  the  past." 

"  Well,  if  you  are  really  sorry  that  alters  the  case,"  said  Edith, 
drawing  close  to  his  side,  her  face  beaming  graciously.  "I  guess 
I  will  love  you  just  the  same  after  all,  and  I  never  will  forget 
what  you  told  me  about  being  good  and  true.  I  don't  feel  near 
so  angry  with  you  as  I  did  at  first.'' 

She  turned  from  his  knee  and  stood  beneath  the  portrait,  her 
hands  clasped  before  her,  and  her  sweet  face  full  of  tender  pity 
for  the  beautiful  girl  who  had  left  her  home,  and  because  of  an 
unforgiving  father,  had  died  far  away  among  strangers. 

Mr.  Lincoln  wondered  at  his  confiding  mood.  In  all  his  life 
he  had  not  spoken  so  freely  to  any  one  of  his  domestic  troubles, 
as  he  had  done  to  the  pretty,  winsome  child.  Then,  as  he  re- 
membered her  words,  he  smiled  unconsciously  at  her  opinion  of  him 
so  plainly  expressed — and  he  liked  her  none  the  less  for  her  candor. 

His  story  had  deeply  impressed  Edith.  She  was  a  child  of 
wonderful  imagination,  and  the  recital  of  wrong  and  romance  had 
taken  strong  hold  upon  her  young  heart,  and  her  fancy  pictured 
what  might  have  been  had  Mr.  Lincoln  been  less  cruel  and  his 
child  more  confiding. 


106  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

After  tea,  when  her  Papa  had  called  for  her,  as  he  enjoyed 
domg,  that  he  might  have  a  chat  with  Violet,  she  began  at 
once  to  tell  him  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  beautiful  child,  and  how  some 
strange  man  had  coaxed  her  away  from  her  home,  and  con- 
cluded by  begging  him  to  go  with  her,  and  see  how  lovely  her 
portrait  was. 

"Yes,  Mr.  Vancouver,  you  have  never  seen  the  face  of  my 
daughter.  Come,  Violet,  we  will  all  go  with  Edith,"  said  Mr. 
Lincoln. 

Mr.  Vancouver  tried  to  excuse  himself,  but  courtesy  demanded 
that  he  should  accept  his  friend's  invitation,  and  together  they 
crossed  the  hall  and  entered  the  room  where  Edith  had  been  so 
wonderfully  impressed  but  a  few  hours  before. 

Mr.  Vancouver  lifted  his  eyes  to  the  beautiful  face  so  roguish 
and  bright,  and  after  gazing  a  moment  in  silence,  he  dropped  his 
head  into  his  hands,  and  groaned  aloud. 

"  Forgive  me,  Mr.  Lincoln !  I  cannot  hide  the  truth 
longer  !  "  he  said  desperately — passionately.  "  I  was  that  man 
who  won  your  child  from  you — but  oh,  I  loved  her  so,  my 
beautiful  darling !  I  had  thought  never  to  betray  myself,  but  the 
sight  of  her  smiling  face,  so  like  that  which  I  remember,  has 
opened  the  floodgates  of  my  soul ;  and  by  that  face  looking  down 
upon  us  so  kindly,  I  crave  your  pardon  for  the  cruel  wrong  I 
did  you  in  the  past?  It  was  an  indiscretion  of  youth.  I 
feared  that  you  would  say  nay  to  my  suit,  and  in  a  moment  of 
doubt,  I  counseled  an  elopement,  hoping  that  when  we  were 
married,   you  would  forgive." 

Mr.  Lincoln  stood  like  one  stricked  of  life  itself,  while  Mr. 
Vancouver  confessed  the  folly  and  imprudence  of  his  youth,  the 
lines  of  his  face  growing  harder  and  more  stern  every  moment. 

Violet's  breath  came  in  quick  pants  of  incredulous  vv^onder,  and 
the  question  came  like  a  flash,  was  Edith  Mr.  Lincoln's  Grand- 
child ? 

Edith  glanced  from  one  to  another  in  full  appreciation  of  the 
whole  affair.  She  accepted  her  father's  confession  as  a  proper 
sequel  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  disclosure,  and  thought  it  all  just  like  a 
story.  Then  she  noticed  how  dark  and  threatening  Mr.  Lincoln's 
face  had  become,  and  thinking  that  he  did  not  look  very  much 
like  forgiving    any  one,    she  stole    to  his  side,  and    pulling   him 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  107 

down  into  a  chair,   she  crept  into    his  arms  and    laid  her  lovely 
face  close  to  his. 

"You  will  forgive  Papa,  won't  you,  Mr.  Lincoln?"  she  ques- 
tioned, in  a  low,  tender  voice.  "You  know  that  you  said  that 
you  was  sorry  that  you  had  not  forgiven  your  child,  and  if 
you  had,  it  would  have  meant  Papa  too.  Now,  do  please,  say, 
"Yes,  I  forgive  you,"  then  we  will  all  be  so  happy.  Only  see, 
you  are  making  Violet  cry  !  I  Avouldn't  grieve  her  for  all  the 
world.  Besides,  Papa  is  just  as  nice  as  he  can  be.  If  he  was 
some  old  vagabond,  there  might  be  some  sense  in  it.  Come 
here.   Papa  !  " 

Violet  shuddered  at  Edith's  comparison,  and  her  tears  fell  faster 
than  before. 

Mr.  Vancouver  came  to  the  side  of  his  capricious  child,  and 
Mr.  Lincoln  reached  out  his  hand  and  grasped  that  of  his  son-in-law, 
while  Edith  lavished  a  wealth  of  kisses  upon  his  tear-wet  face. 

"Oh,  you  are  my  Grand-pa?"  she  exchaimed  at  last,  as  the 
idea  came  to  her  with  thrilling  force. 

Mr.  Lincoln  looked  up  eagerly.  If  the  report  of  his  child's 
death  had  been  true  it  could  not  be  so. 

"No,  Edith,  Mr.  Lincoln  is  not  your  Grandfather,"  Mr.  Van- 
couver explained.  You  are  my  daughter  by  a  second  marriage. 
My  first  wife  died  ten  years  before  you  were  born." 

"Oh,  pshaw,  Papa!  That  spoils  it  all!"  said  the  child,  her 
voice  quivering  with  disgust  and  disappointment.  Let  us  pretend 
it  isn't  so  Grand-pa  !  I  never  will  believe  one  word  of  it.  Papa 
thinks  that  maybe  you  would  not  like  it  if  he  should  say  I  was 
your  Grand-child,  because  I  am  not  always  good,  but  I  know  it 
is  so.  From  this  very  minute  I  am  going  to  call  you  my  own 
dear  Grand-pa — there  now  !  " 

Mr.  Lincoln  drew  the  pretty,  willful  child  to  his  empty  heart, 
with  an  almost  savage  embrace.  Yes,  he  thought,  she  belonged 
to  him  and  he  would  never  give  her  up  to  anjione. 

"Yes,  darling,  you  are  mine!  "  Your  Papa  robbed  me  of  my 
sunshine,  I  shall  take  his,  but  I  will  share  your  love  with  him 
and  Violet.  Mr.  Vancouver,  I  forgive  you  freely.  I  was  more 
to  blame  because  I  hardened  my  heart  against  my  own  flesh  and 
blood.  Tell  me  of  my  child  ?  Where  she  lived,  and  how  she 
died  ?  " 


108  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

Violet  took  a  low  ottoman  at  Mr.  Lincoln's  feet,  and  Mr.  Van- 
couver seated  himself  before  them,  where  his  eyes  could  con- 
stantly rest  on  the  face  of  the  bride  of  his  youth — the  only  love 
of  his  life. 

' '  Mr.  Lincoln,  your  daughter  and  I  were  married  the  evening 
that  she  left  her  home,  and  Ave  started  at  once  on  a  trip  to  Eu- 
rope. I  have  no  excuse  to  offer  for  our  private  marriage,  only 
that  you  always  treated  me  with  haughty  indifference,  and  refused 
many  times  for  your  child  to  accompany  me  to  places  of  amuse- 
ment. I  argued,  that  if  you  would  deny  me  so  trivial  a  request 
you  would  do  worse  if  I  were  to  ask  her  hand  in  marriage,  and 
I  could  not  give  her  up.  She  loved  me  even  as  I  loved  her, 
and  it  was  not  difficult  to  persuade  her  to  be  mine,  without  your 
consent.  She  always  believed  that  you  would  forgive  her  upon 
our  return,  and  when  you  would  not  see  her,  or  even  read  her 
letters,  it  broke  her  heart. 

"  Now,  Grand-pa,  didn't  I  tell  you  so  !  Oh,  oh,  what  ever 
made  you  do  so  ?  "  and  Edith  buried  her  face  on  Mr.  Lincoln's 
neck,  and  sobbed  aloud. 

"I  was  worse  than  a  brute,  Edith!  Go  on.  Tell  me  all!" 
said  Mr.  Lincoln,  huskily. 

"  Her  health  began  to  fail  her,"  continued  Mr.  Vancouver, 
"and  her  physician  advised  me  to  take  her  to  the  country.  I 
did  so,  and  for  a  time  she  rallied.  Then  a  little  girl-baby  came 
to  gladden  our  hearts,  and  after  that — although  she  loved  it  as  her 
life — she  was  forced  to  die  and    leave  it." 

"And  her  child?"  asked  Mr.   Lincoln,  eagerly. 

"I  dared  not  bring  it  to  you — I  had  no  one  to  go  to — and  I 
left  it  with  a  kind  woman,  and  went  abroad.  After  my  return 
to  America,  I  went  to  look  after  her  but  she  was  not  where  I 
had  left  her.     I  think  that  she  is  dead." 

"Of  course  she  is!"  said  Edith,  with  a  toss  of  her  pretty 
head,  not  unfeelingly,  but  with  a  sense  of  relief  that  she  would 
still  hold  the  first  place  in  the  affections  of  Mr.  Lincoln.  "It  is 
just  as  well.  Grand-pa,  she  would  have  made  you  no  end  of 
trouble.  Besides,  if  she  died  when  she  was  a  child,  she  is  a 
great  deal  better  off — nurse  Mary  says  everybody  is.  Now  it  is  all 
settled.  I  am  going  to  come  and  live  with  you  and  Violet,  and 
Papa,  you  can  come  and  see  me  once  in  a  while." 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  109 

They  all  smiled  at  Edith's  settlement  of  affairs,  and  thought 
what  a  sweet  petted  child  she  was,  and  not  a  little  willful. 

**You  had  better  wait,  Mischief,  until  you  receive  an  invita- 
tion," said  Mr.  Vancouver,  laughingly. 

"  She  already  has  that,"  replied  Mr.  Lincoln,  drawing  the 
child  close  to  his  side.      "What  does  my  Heart's-ease  say?" 

Violet  had  been  strangely  silent  during  the  conversation  between 
Mr.  Vancouver  and  Mr.  Lincoln.  Why  must  her  life  be  so  bar- 
ren of  dehght  ?  Why  had  she  found  in  her  father  only  a  bur- 
den of  shame  and  disgrace  ?  She  could  not  enter  into  their  joy, 
her  heart  was  too  sore.  And  her  smile  was  sadly  sweet  when 
she  drew  the  child  toward    her  and  kissed   her  rose-bud  mouth. 

"  Edith  shall  be  my  dear  little  sister.  I  could  not  do  with- 
out her,"  she  said. 

"  And  I,  Violet  ?  "  questioned  Mr.  Vancouver,  as  he  bent  down 
and  laid  his  hand  upon  hers. 

"  My  friend,  always  my  dearest  friend  !  "  and  the  sorely  tried 
girl  burst  into  a  passionate  flood  of  tears. 

Mr.  Lincoln  thought  that  he  understood  why  she  was  so  sad. 
It  was  because  of  the  secret  that  was  robbing  her  young  life  of 
its  richness  and  bloom,  and  the  happiness  of  other's  had  con- 
trasted so  vividly  with  her  burdened  heart,  that  she  could  not 
control  herself  longer. 

He  put  Edith  out  of  his  lap,  and  drew  Violet's  beautiful  head 
to  his  knee,  while  he  stroked  her  glossy  hair  with  a  touch  lov- 
ing and  tender  as  that  of  a  mother. 

"Don't  grieve  so  bitterly,  Violet!"  he  said.  "You  have  a 
place  in  my  heart  sacred  to  you  alone.  I  know  how  trying  this 
re-union  is  to  you — it  makes  your  own  condition  more  lonely. 
No  father,  mother,  brother,  or  sister,  only  a  poor  old  foolish  man, 
who  loves  you  far  better  than  his  life." 

"  Oh,  Uncle  Robert,  forgive,  oh,  forgive  me  !  I  am  not  wor- 
thy your  love !  " 

Violet  dashed  the  tears  from  her  eyes  and  lifted  her  flushed 
face  to  his. 

He  smiled  down  upon  her,  as  he  thought  she  referred  to  his 
forgiveness  for  her  out-break  of  tears,  when  she  ought  to  be 
happy,  while  Violet  was  thinking  regretfully  of  her  deception  to- 
ward him. 


110  A   WAYSinE    VIOLET. 

Edith  had  crept  into  her  Papa's  arms,  and  was  almost  asleep, 
the  day  had  been  so  fall  of  excitement  that  it  had  left  her  com- 
pletely exhausted, 

Mr.  Lincoln  rang  the  bell,  and  in  a  moment  a  servant  appeared, 
and  he  gave  orders  for  a  room  to  be  lighted  for  Mr.  Vancouver. 

"You  must  not  take  the  child  out  to-night,"  he  said.  "She 
is  so  tired  and  sleepy." 

"  No,  indeed,  Edith  shall  stay  with  me  !  "  said  Violet,  bending 
over  the  lovely,  flushed  face. 

Edith  clasped  her  arms  around  Violet's  neck,  and  drew  her 
close  to  her  Papa's  side. 

jSIr.  Vancouver  gazed  down  upon  the  two  beautiful  faces  with 
a  feeling  of  tender  love,  and  with  a  desire  to  clasp  both  to  his 
heart.  Somehow  Violet  seemed  as  dear  to  him  as  Edith.  Then 
with  a  deep  sigh  he  placed  the  child  upon  her  feet,  and  permitted 
Violet  to  lead  her  away,  leaving  him  alone  with  Mr.   Lincoln. 


CHAPTER  XVIII.— A  Mutual  Understanding. 

The  afternoon  following  Kate  Carter's  startling  disclosure  to 
Earnest  Treherne,  he  called  upon  Mrs.  Willett,  happy  tliat  he 
had  so  reasonable  an  excuse  for  presuming  on  his  short  acquaint- 
ance with  her. 

He  found  lier  even  more  charming  than  he  had  thought  her 
when  at  Violet  Lincoln's,  and  they  conversed  for  some  time  very 
pleasandy,  before  touching  upon  the  object  of  his  call. 

At  last  he  could  not  fail  but  notice  an  eager  questioning  in 
Louise's  eyes  and  a  flush  of  excitement  on  her  cheek,  and  he  said  : 

' '  ISIrs.  Willett,  your  maid,  Miss  Carter,  gave  me  quite  a  plea- 
sant surprise  last  evening.     She  has  told  you,   has  she  not  ? " 

"Oh,  yes,  Mr.  Treherne!  I  have  just  been  wild  to  talk  with 
you  about  it,  but  I  thought  that  you  never  would  mention  the 
affair,"  and  Louise  gave  a  merry,  rougish  laugh,  in  which  Ear- 
nest joined  her. 

"I  perceived  that  you  were  becoming  wonderfully  excited 
over  something,"  replied  Earnest  archly.  ' '  Do  you  not  think  it 
the  strangest  story  you  ever  heard  ?  "     ' 

"I  certainly  do,"  replied  Louise,  eagerly.  "I  did  not  know 
that  Carl  was  married,  and  little  did  I  guess  that  Violet  was  a 
bride." 


A  WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  Ill 

*'  And  diat  I  was  the  minister  who  performed  the  ceremcmy," 
added  Earnest. 

"  You,  ^Ir.  Treheme !"  exclaimed  Louise,  breathlessly.  "Well, 
I  am  almost  ready  for  anything  in  the  way  of  the  miraculous^ 
And  you  did  not  recognize  Violet?'' 

'*  Mrs,  WiUett,  she  was  but  a  child  of  fifteen^  when  I  made  her 
the  bride  of  Carl,  and  three  years  hare  wrought  a  woncerful 
change  in  her,"  replied  Earnest,  thoughtftilly. 

"  Please  tell  me  how  it  happened,  Mr,  Treheme  ?  "  asked  L' uiic. 
"It  must  have  been  a  strange  wedding." 

Earnest  reflected  a  moment,  not  knowing  just  what  to  do.  K 
he  related  the  circumstances  tnirhfiilly  it  might  wounc  htr  r'rtl- 
ings,  and  he  could  not  prevaricate, 

Louise  understood  that  his  reluctance  'sl  izz^t  ^raj  r--crr:ir<i 
heTse'if,  and  she  hastened  to  relieve  his  mi-c  of  anj  eniajrriis- 
ment  the  thought  might  cause  him. 

"Do  not  spare  me,  iNlr.  Treheme,"  s'ae  said  'Gi-is'aingly.  "I 
want  you  to  relate  all.  I  did  not  love  CarL  and  he  only  thought 
that  he  loved  me.  We  were  only  good  friends — If  we  h=.Q  mar- 
ried we  could  not  have  been  more  to  each  other.  Love  cannot 
be  called  into  existence  by  the  simpie  word  of  command,  nor 
can  it  be  taken  from  the  happy  possessor  by  physical  force.  It 
is  a  gift  made  sacred  by  the  sanction  and  blessing  of  God." 

Earner's  handsome  face  flushed  with  a  sudden  glow  of  joy, 
and  he  could  not  refrain  from  a  low.  half-ajdible  ' '  Amen  '' — 
perhaps  because  the  expression  h=i  irczae  a  ha'oi:  wirh  him. 

"It  may  be,  !Mrs.  Willett,  that  yoa  do  no:  'khow  that  I  was 
to  have  performed  the  ceremony  which  woa.d  have  made  you 
the  wife  of  CarL,  and  when  you  told  ""'"rn  :ha:  ::  couid  not  be, 
he  requested  me  to  go  abroad  with  him.  I  had  been  smdying 
hard,  and  the  recreation  he  offered  was  gladly  accepted.  We  were 
on  our  way  when  a  wreck  of  cars  detained  us  sometime  at  a  iitde 
village  called  Weston.  To  wiiile  away  the  tedious  waiting,  we 
rambled  out  into  the  wood  adjoining  the  village,  and  while  there 
we  came  upon  a  child  crying  bitterly.  We  questioned  her,  and 
foimd  that  she  was  about  to  marry  one  w'tLom  she  disliked  with 
all  her  heart — that  she  was  to  be  forced  iuco  the  marriage  by 
an  aunt  with  whom  she  lived.  Carl's  heart  was  crushed  and 
emotv  because  of   vour  reiecrion.    and  without  a   thought  of  the 


112  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

result  he  offered  to  marry  her  himself,  that  she  might  be  saved 
from  the  young  man's  persecutions.  He  knew  that  1  had  the 
marriage  certificate  with  me  that  had  been  intended  for  you,  and 
before  I  had  hardly  realized  the  wrong,  he.  had  persviaded  me  to 
unite  them  in  matrimony.  Then  we  continued  on  our  way  to 
Cape  May,  and  from  thence  we  sailed  for  Europe.  That  is  all 
I  know  of  the  affair." 

Louise  listened  attentively  to  the  history  of  the  rash  marriage, 
then  said : 

"But  where  did  he  meet  her  afterwards,  Mr.  Treherne?  and 
how  did  she  become  the  adopted  child  of  Mr.  Lincoln?" 

' '  Carl  met  her  on  the  homeward-bound  vessel  in  which  he 
sailed,  and  fell  in  love  with  her.     Beyond  that  I  do  not  know." 

' '  And  he  does  not  dream  that  Violet  is  his  wife,  and  she 
does  not  know  that  Carl  is  her  husband !  What  a  strange,  strange 
tangle." 

"I  am  very  sure  that  Carl  is  deceived,"  said  Earnest,  his 
eyes  flooded  with  thought,  "  but  I  cannot  understand  the  possi- 
bility of  Miss  Lincoln  failing  to  recognize  him.  His  name  has 
not  been  changed,  and  he  looks  very  much  as  he  did  three 
year's  ago." 

"Perhaps  she  does  recognize  him,  Mr.  Treherne,  and  on  ac- 
count of  the  vagrant,  whom  she  believes  to  be  her  father,  she  is 
keeping  her  identity  a  secret  from  him." 

' '  Ah,  I  had  not  thought  of  that,  Mrs.  Willett !  I  have  no 
doubt  your  conclusion  is  the  proper  one.  I  had  thought  of  every- 
thing else  I  believe.  When  will  you  explain  the  deception  to 
Miss  Lincoln  ?" 

"  Soon — to-morrow,  I  think.  I  was  waiting  to  see  you  before 
going  to  her." 

Earnest's  heart  thrilled  at  her  words,  because  they  betrayed 
an  interest  in  him — she  had  expected  him  to  call,  and  was  not 
displeased. 

"I  have  not  seen  Carl  as  yet.  I  called  on  him  but  he  was 
not  in,"  said  Earnest,  then  he  added,  as  though  thinking  aloud, 
"The  conversion  of  Miss  Carter  will  disentangle  a  thread  of 
mystery  and  intrigue  beyond  anything  we  could  guess  at.  You 
believe  in  the  prompting  and  guiding  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  do  you 
not,  Mrs.  Willett  ?  " 


A   WAYSIDE  VIOLET.  113 

'*  I  hardly  know  what  I  think,  Mr.  Treherne,"  replied  Mrs. 
Willett,  somewhat  embarrassed  at  the  pointed  question.  "  I  have 
not  time  to  give  such  matters  even  a  passing  thought.  You 
know  I  am  not  a  Christian,  but  I  am  glad  if  Kate  has  been 
converted,  and  through  a  change  of  heart  she  has  been  pursuad- 
ed  to  confess  a  terrible  wrong.  I  suppose  some  one  must  wear 
the  laurels  for  it  all,  and  I  have  no  doubt  but  that  God  deserves 
the  credit  more  than  any  other  agency.  •  Do  you  believe  in  a 
God  who  punishes  one  for  every  idle  word  and  action  regardless 
of  their  intentions — an  omnipotent  being  ?  " 

"  Certainly,  Mrs.  Willett,"  and  a  shade  of  regret  stole  over  the 
face  of  Earnest  at  the  question.  "It  would  grieve  me  very 
much  if  I  believed  you  did  not." 

Louise  gave  him  a  quick  bewildering  glance  from  her  dark  eyes, 
then  said  softly  : 

"  Then  I  shall  not  say  what  I  believe,  because  I  desire  to  please, 
not  to  grieve  you." 

Earnest's  face  flushed  hotly  again,  at  her  glance  and  words,  and 
he  wondered  how  it  was  possible  for  Carl  to  love  even  the  fairest 
girl  on  earth,  after  his  intimacy  with  this  glorious  woman. 

"  Excuse  me,  Mrs.  Willett,  but  I  see  so  great  perfection  in  your 
character,  that  it  may  be  said  of  you,  as  it  was  spoken  to  one  of 
old,    '  oi^e  thing  thou  lackest'." 

"And  I  might  respond  to  your  kindly  expressed  compliment, 
that  '  almost  thou  persuadest  me  to  be  a  Christian,'  Louise  mur- 
mured in  low,  sweet  tones,  then  throwing  back  her  head  as 
though  casting  aside  unpleasant  thoughts,  she  added  lightly,  "Oh, 
dear  !  Let  us  talk  about  something  else — the  thought  of  death 
and  eternity  always  makes  me  shudder.  What  do  you  imagine 
Carl  and  Violet  will  say  when  they  are  enhghtened  in  regard  to 
their  relationship  ?  " 

"Indeed,  Mrs.  Willett,  I  have  no  idea,  but  this  much  I  do 
know,  that  it  Mall  be  a  happy  time/'  said  Earnest  smiling,  at  her 
promptness  in  changing  the  subject. 

"  I  would  like  so  much  to  hear  what  Carl  thinks — would  it  be 
asking  too  much,  Mr.  Treherne,  for  you  to  call  and  tell  me  ?  If 
you  have  other  engagements  do  not  hesitate  to  say  so — I  know 
that  you  are  assistmg  with  the  services  at  Fifth  Avenue  Church," 
Louise  said  half-reluctantly. 


»# 


114  A    WAYSIBE   VIOLET. 

"Thank  you  for  your  kind  invitation,  Mrs.  Willett,  I  will 
surely  come — I  may  see  Carl  yet  to-day.  Somehow,  I  feel  a 
need  of  haste  in  the  matter  wholly  unaccountable." 

' '  And  I  too,  will  go  to  Violet  this  evening — something  might 
transpire  to  prove  to-morrow  one  day  too  late." 

"I  believe  it  to  be  best,  Mrs.  Willet ;  and  it  will  be  a  plea- 
sure to  me  to  know  that  we  are  on  similar  errands  of  mercy  at 
the  same  time.  I  shall  think  of  you  often  this  evening,"  and 
with  a  lingering  good-by  Earnest  passed  out  from  her  presence, 
his  heart  a  willing  captive  to  the  charm  of  her  manner  and  the 
beauty  of  her  face. 

As  the  shades  of  evening  drew  near  he  sought  the  rooms  of 
his  friend,  and  this  time  he  was  more  fortunate,  Carl  was  at  home 
and  gave  him  a  warm  welcome. 

"The  very  boy  I  wanted  to  see!"  exclaimed  Carl  heartily. 
"How  did  you  happen  to  appear  in  answer  to  my  desire?" 

"I  did  not  'happen,'  Carl,  I  came  with  a  purpose,"  Earnest 
replied.      "  I  have  something  of  vast  importance  to  relate  to  you." 

"  Not  fell  in  love  with  Louise  already?  Eh,  Earnie  !  "  and 
Carl  laughed  merrily  at  the  evident  embarrassment  of  his  friend. 

"It  is  not  to  make  you  a  confident  to  that  effect  that  I  am 
here,  Carl,"  replied  Earnest,  evasively  "It  is  something  of  un- 
bounded interest  to  yourself." 

"What,  Earnie!  You  know  that  I  have  no  patience.  Does 
it  concern  Violet  or  Dora  ?  " 

"Both,  Carl!" 

"  Both  !     What  do  you  mean  ?  " 

"Carl,  Violet  and  Dora  are  one  and  the  same.  Do  you  un- 
derstand ?  " 

Carl  sprang  from  his  chair  and  grasped  Earnest's  arm  until  he 
could  have  almost  cried  out  with  pain. 

' '  Earnie,  for  God  sake,  tell  me  what  you  mean  ?  Violet  is 
Dora,  the  girl  I  made  my  wife  ?  It  cannot  be  !  You  are  surely 
mistaken."  «. 

' '  No,  Carl,  I  am  not  mistaken.  Listen  and  I  will  convince 
you  also.  Last  evening  after  services  at  the  church,  a  young  girl 
who  had  just  been  converted,  asked  for  a  few  moment's  private 
conversation  with  me.  She  said  that  her  name  was  Kate  Carter, 
and  that  she  lived  at  Weston.     Then  she  confessed  that  to  please 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  115 

her  lover,  she  had  deceived  you  by  personating  Dora  Markley, 
and  that  Dora  had  left  home  immediately  after  she  was  married 
and  had  never  returned.  Her  lover  had  come  to  the  city,  and 
fearing  treachery,  she  had  followed  him  and  found  that  he  had 
recognized  in  Violet  Lincoln,  Dora  Markley,  your  bride.  Even 
now  he  is  disguised  as  an  old  destitute  man,  and  deceiving  the 
confiding  young  lady  until  she  believes  him  to  be  her  father,  and 
by  this  means  extorting  money  from  her." 

"Earnest,  Earnest!  Shake  me  and  see  if  I  am  awake,  or 
only  dreaming  !  If  what  you  tell  me  is  true,  I  shall  be  too  happy 
for  this  world.     Violet,  my  wife,  and  I  did  not  -know  it !  " 

* '  But,  Carl,  Miss  Lincoln  surely  knew  you  ?  Why  has  she  kept 
silent  ?  "  asked  Earnest. 

"  I  do  not  know, — I  care  not !  If  she  is  mine  all  else  will  be 
explained.  I  know  that  she  loves  me,  that  is  joy  enough  for  the 
present.  Excuse  me,  Earnie,  but  I  must  go  to  Violet  at  once. 
I  cannot  wait  a  moment  longer." 

"  I  sympathize  with  you,  Carl,  and  do  not  blame  you  for  your 
boyish  eagerness.  Do  not  let  me  detain  you.  I  will  see  you  in 
the  morning.     Shall  you  ride  or  walk  ?  " 

"Walk,  Earnest!  I  could  not  wait  for  a  carriage,"  said  Carl, 
walking  restlessly  up  and  down  the  room. 

"Then  I  will  accompany  you  a  short  distance." 

Earnest  expecting  Louise  to  call  on  Violet  during  the  evening, 
had  decided  to  attend  church,  and  together  they  passed  out  to 
the  street. 


CHAPTER  XIX. — Carl  and  Earnest  to  the  Rescue. 

The  two  young  men  had  walked  quite  a  little  distance,  and 
Earnest  was  about  to  part  company  with  his  friend,  when  Carl 
grasped  his  arm  and  said  : 

"Earnest,  is  not  that  Violet  talking  with  that  old  man?  Yes, 
I  cannot  be  mistaken.  See,  she  is  about  to  enter  the  carriage. 
Earnest,  what  does  it  mean?" 

Earnest  gave  one  searching  glance  in  the  direction  indicated 
by  Carl,  and  comprehended  to  some  extent,  that  she  was  to  be 
more  deeply  deceived,  and  perhaps,  cruelly  wronged. 

"  She  must  not  go  with  him  !  "  he  exclaimed,  eagerly.  "Quick, 
Carl,  come  with  me  !  " 


116  A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

The  wicked  plan  of  Rufus  Day  had  worked  hke  a  charm. 
He  had  tortured  Violet  with  his  threatenings  until  completely 
worn  out,  she  had  consented  to  leave  Mr.  Lincoln  and  go  with 
him.  It  may  have  been,  that  after  her  old  friend  had  found  in 
Mr.  Vancouver  a  son-in-law,  that  she  had  reasoned  that  she  was 
only  in  the  way — that  Edith  would  fill  her  place  in  his  heart  and 
home,  and  surely  the  child  had  by  far  the  best  right.  Be  that 
as  it  might,  Rufus  was  exultant  because  success  seemed  so  near. 

He  had  handed  Violet  into  the  carriage,  and  halted  a  moment 
to  give  the  driver  some  directions,  when  he  was  roughly  grasped 
by  each  arm,  and  turned  to  find  himself  in  close  quarters,  with 
the  flushed,   angry  face  of  Carl  Leslie  looking  into  his. 

"Rascal!  What  would  you  do  with  Miss  Lincoln?  Rufus 
Day,  I  know  you  !  Your  whole  villainous  plot  is  detected.  Be- 
gone, dog,  or  I  will  hand  you  over  to  the  police  !  " 

Carl  and  Earnest  released  their  hold  upon  his  arms,  and  defeated 
and  crest-fallen,  Rufus  hasted  away. 

'  "  Come,  Violet !  "  Carl  said  turning  toward  the  carriage,    "  That 
man  is  not  your  father — he  is  Rufus  Day." 

But  Violet  did  not  answer,   and  Carl  sprang  into  the  carriage. 

"  Earnest,  to  the  driver's  seat,  quick!  "  he  said,  his  voice  husky 
with  emotion.  "See  that  he  drives  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  without  a 
moment's  delay.     Violet  has  fainted !  " 

As  the  carriage  started  Carl  clasped  Violet  in  his  arms  and 
showered  passionate  kisses  upon  lips,  cheek  and  brow,  calling  her 
by  every  endearing  name  found  in  a  lover's  vocabulary. 

They  had  but  a  short  distance  to  go,  and  in  a  very  few  mo- 
ments the  carriage  drew  up  before  the  residence  of  Mr.  Lincoln. 
Together  Carl  and  Earnest  carried  Violet  into  the  house,  and 
gave  her  into  the  care  of  Mrs.  Burnett.  Soon  the  sweet  face 
began  to  tinge  with  color,  and  the  bewildered  girl  opened  her 
eyes,  and  looked  up  eagerly  into  Carl's  face,  bending  so  near  her 
own. 

"Violet,  darling!  You  are  better?"  he  said,  his  voice  agitated 
and  trembling  with  doubt.  , 

"Yes,  Carl — what  happened?  How  came  I  here?  And 
oh — !  "  she  covered  her  face  with  het  hands,  while  her  form 
quivered  with  emotion. 


A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  117 

"Do  not  think  about  it,  Violet!  It  was  all  false.  No  one 
in  all  this  world  shall  claim  you  !  You  are  mine, — all  mine  !  " 
Carl  said  tenderly. 

"Violet,  child!  What  is  the  matter?"  said  Mr.  Lincoln  as  he 
entered  the  room. 

"Nothing,  Uncle  Robert.  I  think  I  must  have  fainted.  See 
I  am  myself  again." 

And  Violet  sat  up  and  drew  him  down  by  her  side. 

"  Mr.  Lincoln,  allow  me  to  introduce  my  friend,  Mr.  Treherne, 
and  to  explain  so  far  as  possible,  what  no  doubt  seems  very  mys- 
terious to  you,"  said  Carl. 

Mr.  Lincoln  acknowledged  the  introduction  gracefully,  then 
turned  toward  Carl. 

"  I  am  listening,  Carl !  "  he  said,   "  Go  on  !  " 

At  this  moment  the  door  was  thrown  open,  admitting  Mr.  Van- 
couver, Edith  and  Louise. 

Edith  ran  straight  into  Mr.  Lincoln's  arms,  regardless  of  those 
around,  crying  : 

"Grandpa,  I  was  naughty,  and  wouldn't  stay  at  home!  and  I 
tormented  Papa  until  he  was  glad  to  bring  me  back.  Now  I  am 
never,  never  going  to  leave  you  again  !     Do  you  hear  that,  Papa?  " 

They  all  joined  in  a  merry  laugh  at  the  earnestness  of  the  child, 
and  when  Mr.  Vancouver  could  be  heard  he  said  : 

"It  is  true,  Mr.  Lincoln!  When  I  sought  to  convince  her 
that  she  could  not  live  with  you,  she  developed  into  a  perfect 
little  tragedy  queen,  and  I  was  forced  to  bring  her  to  you  for  the 
sake  of  peace." 

"That  is  so,  Grandpa!"  and  Edith  nodded  her  head  in  gra- 
cious confirmation  of  her  Papa's  explanation. 

"Right,  darling!  You  shall  stay  with  me,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln, 
kissing  her  fair  brow,  "  Send  her  wardrobe  and  dolls  to-morrow, 
Mr.  Vancouver,  and  she  shall  have  a  room  fitted  up  for  her  ex- 
clusive use." 

"I  was  not  naughty,  too,  Mr.  Lincoln,  to  make  it  necessary  for 
Mr.  Vancouver  to  escort  me  here,"  said  Louise,  laughingly.     "  I  met 
them  at  the  door — that  is  the  reason  we  all  came  in  together." 
"I  am  not  so  sure,  Louise!"  exclaimed  Violet. 

Then  a  moment  of  embarrassment  followed.  Carl  did  not  like 
to  speak  before  Mr.  Vancouver,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  felt  a  delicacy 


118  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

about  insisting,  as  he  did  not  know  the  nature  of  his  disclosure, 
but  after  a  moment's  thought  he  .said  : 

"  Carl,  perhaps  it  would  be  best  for  me  to  offer  a  little  expia- 
tion before  you  go  on  with  your  story.  You  heard  this  darling 
little  mischief  call  me  Grandpa,  and  in  some  respect  she  has  that 
right.  Mr.  Vancouver  is  my  son-in-law — the  husband  of  my  only 
child.  I  did  not  know  the  truth  until  last  evening.  The  mar- 
riage was  private,  and  I  did  not  even  know  the  name  of  my 
daughter's  husband.  I  was  most  to  blame,  because  I  was  proud 
and  unforgiving.  Edith  is  not  my  daughter's  child,  but  the  child 
of  a  second  marriage.  It  is  not  necessary  to  go  into  detail,  but 
all  is  forgiven,  and  I  trust  that  my  child  in  Heaven  looks  down 
with  gladness.  Now,  Carl,  do  not  hesitate  to  proceed  with  your 
explanation." 

For  some  little  time  it  would  have  been  impossible  for  Carl 
to  have  attempted  to  explain — all  was  surprise  aud  excitement. 
Questions  were  asked,  congratulations  tendered,  and  every  one 
well-pleased. 

"  Mr.  Lincoln;  I  imagine  that  my  explanation  will  be  equally 
as  surprising  as  yours,  and  I  trust  will  be  as  pleasantly  received," 
said  Carl.  ' '  There  is  no  such  a  young  lady  as  Miss  Violet  Lincoln, 
but  instead,  I  will  present  Mrs.  Violet  Leslie,  my  darling  wife !  " 

"  Oh,  Carl  !  How  did  you  find  out?  How  could  you  be  so 
indiscreet !  "  cried  Violet,  as  she  hid  her  flushed  face  on  Mr. 
Lincoln's  shoulder. 

"Is  this  so,  Violet?''  asked  Mr.  Lincoln,  his  voice  low  and 
trembling. 

Violet  lifted  her  head  and  placed  both  her  arms  around  Mr. 
Lincoln's  neck, 

"Yes,  Uncle  Robert,"  she  murmured,  every  word  pleading  his 
pardon.  "Forgive,  oh,  forgive  me!  I  did  not  realize  how 
wicked  it  was  to  deceive  you,  until  only  a  few  days  ago.  But 
it  all  happened.  Uncle  Robert,  before  I  met  you — if  it  had  not, 
I  am  sure  I  would  have  told  you." 

"Never  fear,  Violet,  Grandpa  will  forgive  you — he  don't  look 
the  least  bit  like  he  did  before  he  forgave  Papa,"  and  Edith 
peeped  archly  around  into  Mr.  Lincoln's  face. 

"You  need  not  feel  neglected  or  insulted,  Mr.  Lincoln,"  said 
Carl.       "She  did  not  even  tell  me.       I  have,  met  her  day  after 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  119 

day,  without  so  much  as  guessing  that  she  was  my  wife.  Oh, 
Violet,  why  did  you  keep  this  from  me  ? " 

Violet  turned  her  love-lit  eyes  to  Carl's  reproachful  face  and 
wondered  if  he  would  still  regret  her  silence,  when  she  had  con- 
fessed all. 

"  Carl,"  she  said  tenderly,  "When  we  met  on  board  the  Comet, 
I  knew  you  at  once,  and  I  thought  if  I  could  win  your  love  I 
would  explain  who  I  was.  Then  afterward  when  I  saw  Louise 
and  heard  that  you  had  been  engaged  to  marry  her,  I  thought 
perhaps  you  would  love  her  again,  and  I  waited — if  it  had  been  so, 
I  would  have  kept  my  secret  forever.  After  I  found  that  Louise 
did  not  love  you,  and  you  were  true  to  the  vows  made  on  the 
vessel,  another  obstacle  to  the  confession  presented  itself.  My 
father  found  me  out,  and  I  could  not  expect  you  to  accept  the 
child  of  such  a  degraded  creature  for  your  wife.  Oh,  Carl,  do 
not  despise  me !  Through  it  all  I  loved  you,  until  my  heart  is 
almost  broken  !  " 

Carl,  entirely  heedless  of  those  around  him,  clasped  his  beauti- 
ful wife  close  to  his  joyful  heart,  and  received  the  first  kiss  from 
her  lips  since  she  gave  him  the  caress  by  the  spring. 

"What  in  the  name  of  common  sense  does  this  mean?  Hus- 
band and  wife,  and  not  recognize  each  other ! "  exclaimed  Mr. 
Lincoln. 

"  Mr.  Lincoln,  I  think  I  can  enlighten  you,"  said  Earnest. 
"The  wedding  was  one  of  impulse,  not  common  sense.  They 
had  never  met  before,  and  the  bride  was  but  fifteen  years  of  age. 
Carl  married  her  to  save  her  from  a  union  with  one  she  very 
much  disliked,  and  immediately  left  her.  They  did  not  meet 
again  for  three  years,  and  by  that  time,  Mrs.  Leslie  was  so  much 
changed  that  Carl  did  not  dream  she  was  his  wayside   bride." 

' '  There  is  a  link  in  the  chain  that  I  think  none  can  supply 
but  myself,  said  Violet,  lifting  her  head  from  Carl's  shoulder. 
After  I  had  been  made  the  wife  of  Carl,  I  found  out  that  those 
with  whom  I  lived  had  no  claim  whatever  upon  me,  and  when 
they  tried  to  force  me  to  give  up  my  marriage  certificate,  and 
forget  it  had  ever  been,  I  fled  in  the  night  and  took  the 
train  for  this  city.  On  the  train  I  met  Edith  and  her  Grand- 
mother en  route  for  England,  and  as  the  child's  maid  would  not 
leave    America,    they  offered    me  the    position   of    companion  to 


120  A   WAYSIDE   VIOLET. 

Edith,  which  I  gladly  accepted.  The  vessel  on  which  we  sailed 
caught  fire  in  mid-ocean,  and  in  the  hurry  and  dismay,  I  was 
separated  from  Mrs.  Lynne  and  Edith.  Then  Mr.  Lincoln,  the 
dearest  friend  a  poor  girl  ever  found,  took  pity  on  me  because 
I  was  friendless,  penniless,  and  alone,  and  placed  me  in  school 
across  the  water,  where  I  remained  for  three  years.  Then,  as 
the  last  crowning  favor,  so  unstintedly  lavished  upon  me,  he 
adopted  me,  and  gave  me  his  name,  and  shared  his  wealth  with  me. 
I  was  perfectly  happy  until  my  father  found  and  claimed  me — " 

' '  Violet,  why  do  you  still  say  father  ?  "  interrupted  Carl,  for- 
getting that  he  had  not  explained  that  part  of  the  affair.  "The 
villain  is  not  your  father.  He  was  Rufus  Day  disguised  as  an 
old  man." 

Violet  sprang  to  her  feet,  every  feature  illuminated  with  indis- 
cribable  joy,  her  hands  clasped  in  exultation. 

"Oh,  Carl,  Uncle  Robert,  can  it  be  so!"  she  exclaimed. 
"Thank  God  that  I  am  not  the  child  of  such  a  wretch!  And 
he  was '  taking  me  to  his  home,  he  said.  Oh,  Carl,  what  would 
have  become  of  me  if  you  had  not  interfered  ?  " 

"  I  do  not  know — I  dare  not  think — but  I  shall  follow  him  to 
Weston—" 

"  Where,  Mr.  Leslie?"  interrupted  Mr.  Vancouver,  breathlessly. 

"  To  Weston,  a  little  town  some  thirty  miles  from  the  city.  Ru- 
fus Day  and  his  mother  are  two  of  the  worst  cases  unhung." 
Carl  explained,  his  hands  clenched  and  his  eyes  flashed   argrily. 

Mr.  Vancouver  sprang  to  the  side  of  Violet,  and  grasped  her 
arm  almost  rudely  in  his  agitation. 

' '  Great  heavens  !  What  strange  fancies  fill  my  brain  !  Violet, 
tell  me  the  name  of  your  father  and  mother  ? "  he  cried. 

"  Mr.  Vancouver,  I  do  not  know  beyond  that  of  "Raymond" 
and  "Violet."  I  have  their  letters,  and  mother's  are  postmarked 
'  Rose  Cottage, '  and  my  father's   'Oxford,   England'." 

Mr.  Lincoln  sprang  to  his  feet,  and  Mr.  Vancouver  caught  the 
bewildered  girl  in  his  arms,  while  his  manly  form  quivered  with 
a  great  joy. 

' '  Violet,  you  are  my  daughter — the  child  of  Violet  Lincoln. 
God  be  praised  for  this  moment  of  blessing  !  Did  you  not  know 
that  my  name  was  Raymond  ?  Your  name  while  with  Mrs.  Day 
was  Dora  Markley?" 


A    WAYSIDE   VIOLET.  121 

"Oh,  yes,  yes!  I  feel — I  know — it  must  be  so!  Father,  and 
my  own  dear  Grandfather  !  Carl,  is  this  not  joy  enough  to  fill 
a  lifetime  ?  " 

"  My  darling  Heart's-ease  !  "  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  tenderly,  taking 
her  in  his  arms.  "It  is  true,  my  heart  claimed  you  long  before 
my  mind  was  enlightened.  Human  instinct  is  the  best  guide 
after  all.  Surely  I  have  lived  to  see  the  perfection  of  earthly 
happiness  !  " 

Edith  had  looked  and  listened  completely  bewildered  and  some- 
what distressed  at  the  turn  of  affairs. 

"  Papa  Vancouver,  look  at  me  one  minute  !  "  she  exclaimed  in- 
dignantly. "If  Violet  is  your  child,  then  who  am  I?  And  she 
claims  my  Grandpa  too.  Violet,  I  always  did  love  you  but  I 
cannot  stand  everything  !  " 

"Oh,  you  httle  darhng !  You  are  my  own  sweet  sister!" 
cried  Violet,  catching  the  child  up  in  her  arms.  "  It  is  your  Papa 
and  mine — your  Grandpa  and  mine !  Don't  you  understand, 
Edith  ?  " 

"  Well,  why  didn't  you  say  so  a  long  time  ago,  before  I  felt 
so  badly.  I  was  just  ready  to  cry,  because  I  thought  that  I  did 
not  belong  to  anyone  !  " 

"  Carl,  remember,  the  ceremony  by  the  spring  must  be  repeated, 
before  you  can  claim  your  bride,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln.  "There 
were  no  guests,  no  wedding  ring,  and  no  cake." 

"And  no  brides-maid,"  said  Louise,  laughingly. 

"  I  will  ^gree  to  anything  so  that  I  can  claim  my  darling  soon," 
replied  Carl. 

"And  I  shall  be  glad  to  officiate  under  more  favorable  cir- 
cumstances than  those  I  so  well  remember,"  said  Earnest. 


CHAPTER  XX— "Rose  Cottage," 

The  pure  snowdrops  and  star-eyed  daisies  were  just  peeping 
their  modest  heads  from  their  winter  covering,  and  one  bright, 
particular  spring  morning  all  was  hurry  and  happy  commotion  at 
Rose  Cottage,  the  beautiful  summer  resort  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  on  the 
bank  of  the  Hudson. 

It  was  Violet's  second  wedding  day. 

The  happy  girl  had  expressed  a  desire  to  be  married  at  Rose 
Cottage,  and  although  it  was  too  early  in  the  season  to  change 
9 


122  A    WAYSIDE  VIOLET. 

for  the  summer,  the  house  had  been  made  ready  for  the  impor- 
tant event. 

Violet  was,  with  Mr.  Lincoln,  spending  a  few  moments  before 
she  began  to  make  ready  for  the  marriage  ceremony,  and  Louise 
had  stolen  away  into  the  deserted  parlor,  and  was  standing  by  a 
window  sheltered  by  the  heavy  folds  of  rich  lace,  looking  out 
carelessly,  but  thinking  deeply  of  her  own  life. 

"Louise  !  " 

A  tender,  manly  voice,  thrilHng  with  passionate  emotion,  broke 
in  on  her  revery,  causing  the  rich  crimson  to  surge  over  cheek 
and  brow,  and  the  dark  eyes  to  light  up  suddenly,  then  droop  in 
sweet  confusion  to  the  floor. 

Earnest  Treherne  caught  the  gleam  in  her  eyes,  and  somewhat 
encouraged,  he  continued : 

"Louise,  I  have  something  to  say  that  I  almost  fear  will  dis- 
please you,  but  I  cannot  live  in  doubt  longer.  Need  I  tell  you 
that  I  love  you  with  all  the  power  of  matured  manhood — that  no 
other  love  has  ever  filled  my  heart  ?  Louise,  pardon  me,  if  I 
have  presumed  too  much  upon  your  kindness  and  favor — if  I 
have  been  deceived  and  encouraged  because  of  your  graciousness  ?" 

Louise  turned  and  lifted  her  dark  expressive  eyes  to  his  face, 
then  with  modest  hesitation,  but  truthful  candor,  she  laid  her 
jeweled  hand  in  his. 

"Louise,  you  do  not  chide  me!  You  will  crown  my  life  with 
the  richest  of  earth's  blessings  ? "  said  Earnest,  his  face  shining 
with  rapture  beyond  expression. 

"  Earnest,  the  love  of  my  life  has  come  to  me  at  last !  "  Louise 
murmured.  ' '  God  has  kindly  led  me  through  temptations,  and 
in  paths  I  knew  not  of,  from  the  bondage  of  fancy,  to  enjoy  the 
glorious  freedom  of  love." 

Earnest  bent  his  head  and  kissed  the  fair  uplifted  face,  and 
"with  that  caress  he  claimed  her  all  his  own. 

"  Then  at  last,  my  willful  Louise  acknowledges  that  she  beUeves 
in  Omnipotence — that  she  has  been  led  by  the  power  of  the  Holy 
Spirit!"  said  Earnest,  half-laughingly,  half-seriously.  "Will  you 
come  to  me,  darling,  when  the  June  roses  blossom  ? " 

"If  it  is  your  desire,  Earnest,"  Louise  replied  with  a  rosy 
blush. 


A    WAYSIDE  VIOLET.  123 

At  this  moment  a  servant  requested  Louise  to  come  and  assist 
Violet,  and  Earnest  was  left  alone  with  his  great  joy. 

Edith,  the  winsome  little  fairy,  had  been  absent  from  the  side 
of  Violet  for  quite  a  while,  and  Avhen  she  returned  she  carried  a 
bouquet  of  violets,  and  gave  them  to  the  bride. 

Out  on  the  bank,  sloping  to  the  water's  edge,  the  violets  grew 
wild  and  luxuriant,  while  nearer  the  house  they  were  cultivated 
into  the  dark,  velvety  pansy,  but  Edith  liked  the  wayside  violet 
best.  There  was  something  about  its  shy  beauty  which  to  her 
sensitive  imagination  seemed  strangely  similar  to  her  beautiful 
sister  Violet. 

"  I  found  them  hiding  away  in  the  grass  on  the  bank,  Violet," 
the  child  said  eagerly,  "  and  they  looked  so  modest  and  sweet,  just 
the  color  of  your  eyes,  that  I  gathered  them  for  you.  I  was  most 
sure  that  you  would  like  them  better  than  those  roses  that  grew 
in  the  house.  Why,  these  smell  for  all  the  world  like  the  deep, 
dark  woods." 

"Thank  you,  little  sister,  they  are  very  beautiful,  and  I  admire 
them  much  more  than  the  roses,"  said  Violet,  and  handing 
them  to  Louise  she  requested  her  to  place  a  cluster  in  the  lace 
on  her  bosom,  and  in  her  dark  hair. 

Edith  watched  Louise  while  she  adjusted  Violet's  veil,  then 
flew  from  the  room,  and  in  a  moment  her  clear  ringing  voice  was 
heard  calling  down  the  stairs: 

"  Carl,  come  here !  Violet  says  that  you  may  come  up  and 
see  how  beautifulshe  is — well,  no,  she  did  not  say  that,  but  I 
know  she  is  just  dying  for  you  to  see  her — and  I  say  she  is  the 
most  beautiful  sight  you  ever  looked  upon." 

Carl  sprang  up  the  stairway  and  catching  the  tiny  form  up  in 
his  arms,  kissed  her  happy,  smiling  face,  then  placing  her  upon 
his  shoulder,    entered  the  presence  of  his  lovely,  blushing  bride. 

He  gave  one  glance  of  awe  and  wonder,  then  quietly  placed 
Edith  upon  her  feet — it  was  a  moment  too  precious,  too  sacred, 
for  the  least  levity.  Could  this  rare  vision  of  loveliness  be  the 
poor  little  girl  whom  he  had  met  by  the  spring  ?  We  could  not 
wonder  at  the  thought.  The  shy,  sweet  wayside  violet,  through 
tender  care  and  cultivation,  though  still  retaining  its  woodland 
fragrance,    had    blossomed  mto    the    richness  and  beauty  of   the 


124  A    WAYSIDE  VIOLET. 

pansy,  and  never  in  all  her  life  had  the  fair  young  girl  appeared 
so  regally  beautiful. 

Her  dress  was  of  creamy  lace  over  pale  blue  satin.  Necklace 
and  bracelets  of  elegant  diamonds,  the  gift  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  graced 
her  snowy  neck,  and  fair,  rounded  arms.  Over  all  was  a  long, 
floating  veil  of  gossamar  richness,  confined  by  a  circlet  of  match- 
less diamonds,  and  through  its  soft  folds  gleamed  Edith's  dark 
blue  violets — a  suitable  tribute  to  her  exquisite  toilet. 

"Beautiful!  Beautiful!"  burst  from  Carl's  lips.  "My  own 
sweet  Violet !  " 

It  was  fortunate  that  Louise  was  near  by,  arid  determined  to 
protect  the  beautiful  dress,  else  Carl  would  have  clasped  the 
happy  girl  close  to  his  heart,  utterly  indifferent  to  the  destroying 
effect.  As  it  was,  he  was  laughingly  dismissed  from  the  room, 
until  he  should  be  summoned  to  take, charge  of  his  own,  until 
death. 

He  had  not  long  to  wait,  and  tenderly,  but,  oh,  so  proudly,  he 
led  his  lovely  bride  into  the  presence  of  their  many  friends.  Louise, 
with  an  intimate  friend  of  Carl's,  assisted  as  bride's-maid  and 
bride's-man,  and  once  more,  although  under  far  more  favorable  ■ 
circumstances,  the  clear,  thrilling  voice  of  Earnest  gave  utterance 
to  the  beautiful  and  impressive  marriage  ceremony. 

After  awhile,  when  Violet  had  changed  her  elegant  bridal  robe 
for  a  dainty,  delicate  traveling  suit,  Mr  Lincoln  clasped  her  close 
in  a  yearning  regretful  embrace,  realizing  that  she  would  never 
belong  to  him  again,  as  of  old,  and  it  was  so  hard  for  him  to 
give  her  up. 

"  Heart's-ease,  do  you  know  that  the  light  of  my  life  goes  with 
you?  But  my  desolation  is  your  complete  happiness — that  one 
thought  cheers  my  old  heart  through  the  parting.  May  the  richest 
blessing  of  God  attend  my  own  pure  Violet." 

Edith  had  stood  listening  to  the  words  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  and 
now  as  he  ceased  speaking,  she  exclaimed : 

"  Grandpa,  just  look  at  me!  What  do  you  mean  by  the  light 
going  out  of  your  life  ?  I  guess  I  am.  going  to  stay.  Don't  you 
think  I  am  any  body  ?  then  the  dainty  head  drooped,  and  great 
tears  fell  upon  her  clasped  hands.  "  I  love  you  so  much,  Grandpa 
— and  I  thought  that  you  loved  me.     Have  I  been  naughty  ?  " 


A   WAYSIDE  VIOLET.  125 

"No,  my  precious  darling!  You  are  the  joy  of  my  heart," 
and  Mr.  Lincohi  gathered  the  grieved  child  into  his  arms.  ' '  No 
one  could  be  desolate  while  they  possessed  this  winsome  fairy. 
Yes,  little  Edith,  I  love  you  even  as  you  love  me.  God  has 
been  very  kind,  inasmuch  as  he  has  not  left  me  comfortless." 

Edith  smiled  her  tears  awa}^  her  heart  fully  satisfied  with  Mr. 
Lincoln's  expression. 

Louise  flitted  here  and  there  like  a  ray  of  sunshine,  and  at  the 
last  moment,  under  cover  of  arranging  Violet's  veil,  she  whispered 
in  low,  faltering  tones,  her  little  love  secret. 

Violet  kissed  her,  then  said,  roguishly  : 

"  I  am  so  glad,  Louise  !  I  knew  that  it  would  be  so  from  the 
first.     Carl  will  be  so  delighted." 

Carl  and  Violet  spent  the  remaining  weeks  of  spring  in  the 
sunny  South,  then  returned  and  took  possession  of  their  elegant 
home  on  Fifth  Avenue,  the  gift  of  Mr.  Vancouver. 

Edith  and  her  father  lived  with  Mr.  Lincoln,  the  old  man  would 
have  it  so — he  could  not  give  up  his  lovely,  wilful  darling — and  as 
his  life  drew  calmly,  peacefully  to  a  close,  he  realized  that  "his 
last  days  had  been  his  best." 

Rufus  Day  and  his  mother,  immediately  after  their  overwhelming 
defeat,  had  sold  their  property  in  Weston,  and  had  gone  far  away, 
and  no  one  seemed  to  care  for  their  future.  Carl  was  too  happy  to 
even  think  of  revenge,  and  reverently  he  reasoned,  that  although 
the  path  had  been  rough,  the  landmarks  dim,  yet  the  hand  of 
God  had  led  them  out  of  the  wilderness  into  the  Canaan  of  their 
delight  and  peace. 

Pretty  misguided  Kate  outlived  the  momentary  pain  occasioned 
by  the  knowledge  of  the  treachery  of  Rufus,  and  was  perfectly 
happy  with  Mrs.  Willett,  so  happy  that  she  had  promised  to  accom- 
pany her  kind  mistress  across  the  Atlantic,  to  her  home  in  England 
when  the  June  roses  were  in  blossom. 

And  now,  thankful  for  the  peace  and  joy  that  has  so  abundantly 
blessed  the  lives  of  all,  we  leave  them,  acknowledging  the  truth  of 
Carl's  words,  wlien  he  said,  "  God  will  care  for  you, "  and  fully 
realizing,  that  when  our  Wayside  Violet  shall  be  transplanted, 
through  the  law  of  Nature,  it  will  be  to  richly  blossom  in  the 
Eden  of  God's  dominion. 

THE  END. 


lL^oo9.oS^.p(,'4lcX